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Die Hard?

Could smartphones really put laptops 6 feet under?

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This story appears in the June 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Pick up one of the latest smartphones, and prepare to be dazzled: It may have a color screen, IM, a voice recorder, e-mail, Web access, an MP3 player and a camera. So what can't it handle? Most of your work while you're away from the office. You may have heard buzz about smartphones signaling the end of the laptop. The reports of the laptop's death, however, are greatly exaggerated. While smartphones and PDAs are useful, "they are still not replacements for mobile PCs," says Leslie Fiering, research vice president at technology research and consulting firm Gartner Inc.

Handhelds let you skim short e-mails and jot quick replies; but with a laptop, you can read long messages, download files, or create documents. If anything, laptops aren't dying-they're proliferating. As laptop PCs now compete with desktop PCs in power, sales keep climbing. By the fourth quarter of 2003, laptops accounted for 27.9 percent of U.S. PC sales; and that figure will climb to 45 percent in 2007, IT and telecom firm IDC predicts.

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