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The first commenter on the marathons blog sums up the entire issue. Having known one of the "data points" on that graph personally, I can say that his experience also reflects this fact. He was always proud of having won, but a little bummed about his comparatively high race time, given that he was running at times in ankle-deep rainwater.

Modern smartphones can already do much of what the article describes. See the new Nokia N900 phone, or any phone based on Google's Android platform.

These devices are expensive and battery life is still an issue, but they provide incredible flexibility when it comes to software development. Not only is a varied and useful app library available for these devices, but independent developers will strive to extend their useful life by providing continuous improvements to the phone's internal software.

The potential for an open architecture will be the real distinction between these future mobile devices and today's clumsy smartphones.

John Cassidy's article claims that the Earned Income Tax Credit was first enacted under George H. W. Bush. That's simply not correct. It was expanded in the 1990 budget act, that's true, but it was enacted in 1975 and expanded in 1986 as well.

Careless: Well I can think of one instantly: "Ask it where to eat lunch and it highlights a restaurant that suits your tastes."

VZ Navigator from Verizon already does that, and I'd assume that applications from other providers do as well, though I only know of VZ Navigator from personal experience.

2. Actually, I've been concerned that social activity has been cutting into my net use.

6. Summary: "So, you know all the rationale we've been giving you to sell this thing...ummm...oopsie...want a refund?"

A safer prediction is that smart phones two years from now will be pretty much like smart phones today. Today's PCs don't do much that 10-year-old computers don't. Sure, they have more hard disk space and are a bit faster, but I have both a laptop and desktop that are 6 years old. It's not because I can't afford new ones (and they've gotten steadily cheaper all the time), but because the old ones still do everything I need and it's just not worth the trouble of moving and configuring everything to new computers. The evolution of PCs has clearly slowed, and the improvements are now at the margins (I don't expect PCs 5 years from now to perform any new function that today's PCs don't).

Smart phones are at an earlier phase in their evolution than PCs, obviously, but they're rapidly maturing, too, and I don't expect many (or perhaps even any) truly new functions from future smart phones. Yes, they'll get slicker, but the basic feature set (voice, text, web, GPS/mapping, still and video photography, MP3s, streaming audio and video, laptop tethering) is already in place. Fold-out displays? A novelty if the idea makes it to market at all.

Just speaking for myself, I would really appreciate it if you would append a "McArdle Alert" to any link to one of her posts. It would save me a few seconds every time.

Are there any projections on when the carriers and phone manufacturers are going to get together and come up with good voice quality when making a call?

You have no imagination, Donna. All the gee whiz stuff is obviously more important than being able to understand the person you're talking to.

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