I recently got a small book sized computer called the eeePC made by Asus. I got it from Amazon. This computer has a good sized keyboard and a reasonable color screen. It has wi-fi and meets all the specifications of the Dynabook, thirty five years later.
The Dynabook was a black box the size of standard laptop that staffers at Xexox's computer lab Parc carried around in 1971 as a model of the future ideal computer. The Dynabook was going to give its user access to all the knowledge in the world and be portable.
What is interesting to me is that the sequence of events to get from the Dynabook in 1971 to the eeePC in 2008 was not possible to foresee. Part of it was technical and part of it was human organizational innovation.
The first invention that was needed was the Internet which came twenty years after the Dynabook. The Internet was an invention based on the popular acceptance of a standard computer language: HTML. The second invention was wi-fi which was based the adoption of wireless standards and the relentless push by Intel to put wi-fi in every computer. The third invention was massive chip memory, the eeePC has barely enough at 2 gigabytes in chip memory. The fourth invention was incremental improvement in computer color screens, small enough and efficient enough to keep power requirements low. Finally, the eeePC, to be useful, had to await the development of lithium-ion batteries.
Who could have seen the long sequence of necessary steps from the Dynabook to the eeePC? Standards are human consensus, technology was all corporate lab work.