In the movie "2010", there is a sequence of opening scenes explaining Dr. Heywood Floyd's (played by Roy Scheider) decision and preparation for his trip to Jupiter to personally investigate The Monolith, including a scene of Dr. Floyd working on the beach with a portable computer.
Of course in 1984, when the scene was filmed, the closest functional equivalent to today's laptop was Compaq's "luggable" Portable. So it's not too hard to understand that the computer used for the scene was in fact an Apple //c with a optional LCD panel, despite the fact that Apple didn't offered a computer with a battery until the Macintosh Portable in 1989.
But the scene isn't really about predicting what kind of computers we might be working on in 2010 so much as it was about showing the promise that personal computer makers started to make in the early 80s; the ability to break out of the office, while at the same time becoming more productive.
On that note, alas, there has always been an issue. Who in their right mind would bring a $999 or more computer to the beach, what with its three deathly hallows: water, sand and sun?
At it turns out, the answer is starting to come to light as the holiday shopping seasons gets underway on the eve of 2010.
And that answer is the netbook. Or is it the smartphone? Or perhaps the e-reader? Or something else?
Ok, maybe the answer isn't quite here yet. But consider: thus far, we have netbooks from Asus, Lenovo and others. Smartphones from Google, Microsoft and their partners, Palm, Apple, RIM and Nokia. e-Readers from Sony, Amazon and now even Barnes & Noble and of course who can ignore Apple's rumored Tablet?
And while it is not for certain that one, or any, of these gadget types will still be with us in 5 years time - know anyone still talking hype about PDAs? - it is certain that these devices bring us a step closer to that scene of sitting on a beach with a truly portable computer with readability in bright sunlight and long battery life without the personal computer price tag.
That in turn will make 2010 the Year of the Mobile Gadget.