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Summary and Final Thoughts

Intriguing and fascinating as nanocomputing is, it's not going to appear on your desktop anytime soon—it's years away. Evolving technology is notoriously difficult and risky to predict. The big question is whether nanocomputers will be economical to manufacture and sell; they have to be commercially viable to compete with existing personal computers.

If trends continue, we'll have to develop a fundamentally new manufacturing technology to let us inexpensively build computer systems with quantities of logic elements that are molecular in both size and precision, and are interconnected in highly complex architectures. Nanotechnology will let us achieve this goal.

The sales of products incorporating emerging nanotechnology is very bright, expected to rise from less than 0.1% of global manufacturing output today to 15% in 2014, totaling $2.6 trillion. This value will approach the size of the information technology and telecom industries combined, and will be 10 times larger than biotechnology revenues. However, sales of basic nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes and quantum dots will total only $13 billion by 2014 (source: NanoInvestorNews.com, 10/25/04 report).

In the next one to two decades, we can expect a nanocomputer to be the size of a wallet, and with about the same size and feel. It may come encased in a leather case. Yet it will have enough memory to record every volume in the Library of Congress, and the entire contents of the Internet—several billion times the capacity of the largest PC of today. It will open with a flip, the two-panel screen will light up, and a world of knowledge will be at your fingertips. Nanocomputing's best bet for success today comes from being integrated into existing products, PCs, storage, and networks—and that's exactly what's taking place.

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