The results are in! The panel consisted of :
We had a lively 1.5 hour discussion with lots of good questions from the audience. In response to the questions you asked on the blog :
Q: Will devices converge so that everything ends up running just Windows on small hardware?
A: This came up a few times and the answer was always consistent. While we may one day be able to build devices that can run full Windows in a small form factor the characteristics of a device are defined by what users want to do and not all users want to run full Windows. We were pretty certain that devices wouldn't ultimately converge.
Q : When will we see devices with dual screens?
A : Some already exist today for Windows Mobile. The platform supports it but it's up to the OEM to build it. There doesn't appear to be much demand. There were some cool Windows Vista based Tablet PC demos during the show of devices with dual screens.
Q: When will we see devices with built in hard drives?
A : Imminently. The Samsung i300 has a built in 3Gb hard drive for example.
Q: What are the current limitations on smaller, thinner PDAs?
A: Mike from Motorola alluded to the challenges of getting all the "stuff" required to run Windows Mobile into a very thin form factor. Nevertheless, the Motorola Q is a very thin looking device. Ultimately, it comes down to how practical it it to use a small device. Once the screen gets below a certain size, a user may have difficulty tapping items or reading them. One audience member asked the opposite question : when will screens get big enough that my baby boomer eyes can see them!
Q: When will we see an end to different WiFi and Bluetooth stacks?
A: We didn't get to this question but from my perspective, competition and choice are a good thing in any market as it drives cost down and innovation up.
Q: When will I get one device that does it all?
A: I asked this question in terms of, "when can I get my Star Trek Tricorder?". By which I mean a device that has apparently low battery consumption, limitless bandwidth wherever I am, accepts natural speech input and can connect me seamlessly to exactly the resources I need when I need them without me having to filter search results. The answers varied from : you could build it today to not for another 20 to 30 years. We'll see how we're doing at the next panel!