I've got an elitist theory on this: Common people are essentially mediocre, actually comprised of those persons that BARELY know how to use technology, but got the money to buy it ("Oh my god I have to change my computer because my HD is full", "OH! A virus broke my computer, I have to trash it away... Now how do I read all those misterious emails that I was receiving ?").
They buy PC. They buy cheap. They respond to what mass market offers. The trick is to offer them something low cost, where usually creativity / technology is at its lowest denominator, as a NON essential part of the deal.
From time to time, there is an invention counterparting this: Like the Commodore AMIGA, or the ZAURUS / HIDDEN KEYBOARD / CLAMSHELL / UNIX, (or eventually UNIX ITSELF) designed for tweaking and for creative minds, with creative concepts. You can detect these products because usually got an individual or group of individuals behind, the (nowadays rare enough) INVENTORS: Sir Clive Sinclair (for the ZX SPECTRUM in England), Jay Miner for Commodore Amiga (this guy was essential in other inventions, related to medical world), Linux Torvald (ehem), etc.
I would like to know WHO (or WHAT TEAM) is behind Sharp Zaurus. I am sure it is NOT an obscure 200 engineers team doing small pieces each one, ONLY, but rather one or two BRILLIANT minds seeing the big picture, technical and eventually in marketing (although probably the real marketing people didn´t listen to them, and actually closed the line).
The mass market owners (read eventually MICROSOFT, COMPAQ/HP, DELL/ CHINESE LAPTOP MANUFACTURERS, or WHATEVER) ADOPT some of the technology depicted from these outstanding products and applies (usually small bits of it) in their forthcoming products (even NOW I can depict some "Commodore Amiga" technology here and there, call me a lunatic if you want
We shall see the clamshell design in phones, etc. (although the clamshell design is NOT sharp invention, I assume, but clever application of it into a handheld device. I also would like to know if -prior to C700 model, there where already tabletPC with clamshell design)
Dont take this too seriously and excuse my poor english.