Evolution Shift
A Future Look at Today
January 10th, 2007

Convergence and Electronic Devices

Ten years ago the word convergence was most often used when predicting the convergence of the television set and the computer. Granted there were things like PDAs that synched up to a computer, but the PDA could go into the pocket and the computer could not.  As we all know, it was the cell phone where convergence first showed up, combining phone, camera and PDA.  Then music was added as was connectivity to the Internet.

In the last year the excitement was the convergence in the home between the computer and the television.  This was accelerated because of the penetration of broadband into 50% (now) of US households and the advent of sites like YouTube.  Apple, with iTV and now a number of companies at the CES show are providing ways to connect these two primary institutions of the American home.

The other exciting convergence during this past year has been video viewing on phones, iPods, MP3 players and all forms of wireless devices.  This has brought about the interesting dichotomy of watching video on a two inch screen while out of the home and then watching video on a brand new 42” or larger flat screen television in the living room.  One thing to note is that at this CES show several companies are displaying ever larger flat screens, with several producing ones with 108” diagonal screens.

There are two new and interesting developments coming out of this CES convention.  As mentioned in the prior post, there are an increasing number of devices that attempt to ‘do it all’ including limited computing and GPS capability.  The other interesting development is the introduction of entirely new ‘in between’ devices.  There are several companies that are bringing out personal computers that you can carry in your pocket.  These devices have full qwerty keyboards, high resolution screens, high speed connectivity basic PC software and some will have Wi-fi and other types of phone capability.  The forces fueling the development and sale of these devices are the seemingly endless demand for portability and the huge increase in data traffic over broadband wireless networks.  We seem to want ever more powerful video computing devices for all our communications, productivity and entertainment needs.

All this does not mean that we all must keep buying ever more devices.  A number of us carry 3,4 or more devices already.  What it does mean is that we will have entire new categories of cool gadgets to help us live our lives on the go.  We will choose which devices and which category of device work best in each of our respective lives.  The end result is once again practically unlimited choice and constant connectivity.

The future is literally coming into our hands.

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