HP Labs on the Future of Information

Prith Banerjee, HP Senior Vice President and the director of HP Labs, has some fascinating things to say about the future of personal computing. Given that Palm now has access to the 450 Ph.D. researchers at HP Labs, how these forward-looking folks see things could have some exciting repercussions for the future of webOS devices.

As to how HP sees computing technology, he has this to say:

Looking ahead, our experience with technology will become increasingly intuitive, personalized and sustainable, from the way we interact with devices, to the way we publish ideas, to the way we access software and apps through the cloud. Perhaps more important, these improvements will help us work toward an equitable and efficient society by making technology — and the information it delivers — more available to more people than ever before.

And, specific to what’s nearest and dearest to the hearts of the webOS community:

There’s a lot of buzz today about new devices, smartphones, slates, netbooks, etc. We will continue to see a proliferation of devices tailored for specific purposes. However, each of these devices will act as a "window to a world of information," through which producers of information and entertainment can deliver content in a seamless and collaborative way. In a world where digital content doubles every 18 months, such "windows" will become the chart and compass of our data-centric society. New business models will flourish. For example, digital books could be sold on a per-view basis, the value of which could fluctuate based on its popularity. Technologists around the world are working to create the window to information that will be the most compelling for both producers and consumers.

One thing these devices will have in common will be a new, dramatically more efficient way of displaying content. Made of plastic, these flexible displays will be low power, low cost, show vibrant colors and come in all shapes and sizes. Imagine a 5" x 8" "information surface" that you can roll up and put in your pocket, or one that’s 16′ x 9′ that you unfold and tack to a wall. These types of information surfaces could also be tailored for emerging markets, where high-end, energy-intensive devices are irrelevant.

Read the whole thing. In the absence of official details on what’s next in HP/Palm’s roadmap, this kind of information makes for a nice appetizer or two.

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