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Stock Strategist

A Game-Changer in the Tech Space

The converged mobile device will affect more tech stocks than you might think.

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My colleague, equity strategist Toan Tran, has recently been bitten by the converged mobile device bug. Ever since purchasing  Apple (AAPL) several months ago for his Morningstar GrowthInvestor portfolio, he has been speaking nonstop about the iPhone and the rumors of an upcoming 3G (next-generation wireless network) version of the gadget. He's become enough of a fanatic to mention the idea of camping outside the Apple Store the night before the 3G iPhone launches, so he can be first in line to buy one. Keep in mind, though, that Steve Jobs hasn't even officially announced the 3G iPhone yet.

Nonetheless, Toan's incessant talk about the iPhone and other similar gadgets is warranted. The convergence of various functions onto a single handheld device has been one of the most important trends in the technology space. Take a minute to think about how far the mobile phone has come. In the 1980s, it was an inconvenient brick that happened to have phone capabilities. It eventually evolved into a true mobile device that could fit in your pocket in the 1990s, with basic functions such as text and contacts. Since then, additional capabilities have "converged" into the mobile phone, with smartphones like the iPhone and  Research in Motion's (RIMM) Blackberry being the most advanced devices on the market today. These gadgets are jam-packed with neat functions, including e-mail, music and video players, cameras, global positioning systems (GPS) and Web browsing, while still serving as phones.

Andy Ng does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.