At the Symbian Smartphone Show in London, Symbian's CEO Nigel Clifford predicted that the PC will soon be a thing of the past. Smartphones will instead take over the role of the desktop or notebook computer.

Advanced mobile telephones, or smartphones, are increasingly equipped with features that mirror those of personal computers. But will they really compete with computers and push them out of the market?

According to Symbian , yes, that's what the trends show. Clifford said in his keynote speech at the conference that according to Symbian's forecasts, the PC "will be dead within a few years."

In his presentation, Clifford spoke about the movement in developing countries, where in many cases the IT industry is just breaking through: "The developing countries are moving straight into the handheld market as they are realising the waste of resources having to draw cables everywhere a PC is needed," he said.

As an example, Clifford cited India, where the PC market grows at a rate of five million machines every year. The number of mobile handsets sold, in comparison, is about the same amount on a monthly basis.

"One smartphone in every man's pocket is our vision," Clifford said.His colleague, John Forsyth, agreed, and expressed a longing for the day when you won't have to lug a notebook computer around to be able to communicate and work efficiently.

The fact that it is still difficult to type as quickly on a handheld device as on a standard computer is just a passing stage, according to Forsyth. He claimed that many companies are researching ways to develop alternative methods for text input.

"This process will continue until we have found a satisfactory solution," he said. Anna Lagerkvist