Sound and Fury

Signifying nothing

Transient gadget classes

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I posted a while ago about a conversation I had in a pub about global warming. Well, I was recently back in that pub, not even with the same people and we ended up talking global warming again, briefly. But that wasn’t what I wanted to write about today. We also talked about the future of gadgets. It’s a platitude now to say that several gadgets are converging into the smartphone: phone (obviously), camera, PDA, music player… The netbook will soon be included in this gadget. That is, if all you want from your netbook is a little browsing and the odd note-taking, then your next-gen smartphone will probably do this… Next steps might involve your smartphone acting as a credit card or a house key. Obviously there are security issues there, but why not have everything you normally carry in your pockets coalescing into one chunk of high-techery?

So what other classes of consumer electronics will there be? The home desktop computer, TV and entertainment systems (games consoles, hifi…) could converge into one super-entertainment hub. This big computer system could also then perform those tasks associated with the idea of “smart” houses that generate some part of their electricity themselves and sell any surplus back to the grid.

So we have two classes of consumer electronics. The super portable pocket tech-chunk, and the super-unportable home HAL. There is, I think a middle ground. There is room for a gadget that is portable, but that doesn’t need to fit in your pocket. This gadget would essentially be a convergence of netbook (if you actually use your netbook for stuff you can’t get out of your smartphone) the laptop proper and the ebook reader.

So the point of all this uninformed speculation is basically that I guess the netbook is a transient phase of consumer electronics. It’s a kind of middle ground between laptop and smartphone. People buy them either for portability or price. Eventually, smartphones will be smart enough to claw away some of the netbook market (those who want portability), and laptop/ebook reader type devices will fall in price enough to take the rest of the market (those who bought a netbook for the price).

So that’s how things will look some time in the future. But further in the future we will be able to PLUG COMPUTERS DIRECTLY INTO OUR BRAINS! THE SINGULARITY IS NEAR! AND THEN THE MACHINES TAKE OVER! STEP FORWARD JOHN CONNOR! AAAAAAH!


Written by Seamus

August 15, 2009 at 1:32 pm

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