I have been just checking out some of the AJAX stuff. Needless to say, the techie junkie that I am, I am pretty much blown away.
What is more impressive is not just that ability of the browser to act really like an application container than a markup display module. The movement of the web towards righer media looks more possible from the AJAX point of view rather than the world where everyone watches all their movies online. This is the rich media of the future. Simple applications, centrally maintained and accessible from everywhere.
Of course this means that you need to have connectivity everywhere. This may not be as tough as it seems. A mixture of wired and wireless access is already providing connectivity in most places - bar natural disasters. But, bandwidth is a problem that will not disappear - not overnight, not in a while. Simply put, it is not economically viable to provide high-bandwidth connectivity to everyone. Yes, a big chunk will have access to it, but not everyone.
The software world is going through its pangs of simplification. There is still a while before the dust settles and the winner is predicted. But what struck me was the relation to the hardware world. Take for example the office desktop. Even with the laptop, the desktop today is not truly mobile.
The next step is the integration of business communication with the laptop. All the elements are here already. Laptops are shrinking - they are small enough that any more shrinking can only affect productivity. VoIP is available. And most business users are already connected through adequately thick pipes. What is to prevent an integrated phone in the laptop - a tiny bluetooth enabled headset and an VoIP phone number that goes with the laptop.
That is the next generation of the business laptop. Intergrated communications - data and voice over the same channel through the same end device. You heard it speculated here first.