During my youth (and admittedly to this day) I had a strong interest in science fiction literature and entertainment. I was interested in the cool technology that the writers thought would be widely available for the population to use. Satelites, video phones, electric cars, wall mounted televisions and communication devices, global networks, all these things and more were written about.
There was a television program that aired on the BBC in the late 1980's called Star Cops. It was a well acted science fiction detective drama with a nice line in humour too. David Calder had the lead role as Nathan Spring (an initially) reluctant new head of the International Pace Police Force, which is seen as a bit of a joke organisation by many. Grittily realistic (there were NASA advisors), one of the many things I loved about the series, was 'Box', Nathan Springs handheld computer, which was an invaluable (if irritable) tool in his investigations.
All of which leads me to 'convergence' that holy grail of devices, where in theory, we would only need the one device to do everything. It would be communications device, computer, wallet, friend and more all wrapped up in one handy device. I think you see where I've been going with this. Devices like the ones currently marketed by Apple, HP, Palm, RIM and now with this potentially market changing N9
from Nokia could all easily be the precursors of the 'box' that was so central of preceedings in 'Star Cops'.
So for good or for ill the future as seen in many great science fiction novels and movies isn't coming; it's here already. Issac Asimov and Artur C. Clarke would be proud.
More on the N9 here