The Era Of the Uber-Smartphone Is Here

One thing you’ll notice about this crop of Windows Phone 7 handsets is the power of the processor. Each one – almost ten in all – run 1GHz+ Snapdragon processors. With the average desktop or laptop processor running at about 2GHz (let’s say single core speed here), we’re talking about phones that have the power of a half-decade old PC. Yes, you could probably run Crysis on these.

What does that mean for you and me? Not much except some amazing UI features. What it means for the OS and for programmers is fairly interesting, however. It means spellcheck. It means in-context highlighting (think of the way the iPhone and now Outlook for WinPho 7 highlight addresses and dates). Think fairly powerful productivity tools that use desktop-style interfaces to control various features. While all of these things seem simple, in reality they are very hard.

Imagine handling in-line spellcheck and highlighting. In the “old days” processes like that would bog things down irretrievably, making your phone feels slower. Now, however, you can open an email and see things appear as if by magic. Heck, on the iPhone you can even edit video. As boring as this sounds, this is a huge change for the industry.

Expect phone speeds to rise slowly but in large increments. There is no apparent value in going from 1.1GHz to 1.5GHz. There will be value in rising to almost 2GHz from 1GHz. However, this won’t happen for a little while. 1GHz is pretty much enough for anyone, right now, although this won’t be the case in perhaps six months.

This means apps will be amazing from here on out. Graphics will be amazing, interactivity will be great, and programmers will have to work much harder to keep us amused. Here’s hoping they can keep up.