Friday, July 24, 2009

All-in-One Trend Shift

15 years or so ago, the tech trend was to have a whole lot of different devices with you at all times- your camera, cellphone, video recorder, organizer, voice recorder, walkman....and then you'd have a bag to carry them all around. Then a shift began to take place, and the first place I noticed it was the Handspring Visor. Their idea was that you'd carry one device (the Handspring PDA) and then have modules you could attach to it for a variety of functions. They had modules for GPS, MP3 player, eBook reader, camera, voice recorder, even a barcode scanner! These modules were smaller than a full sized device, and most of the time, would store some of the data on your PDA (photos, for example) so that you had one central location for all of it. The main drawback of the modules was that you could only use one at a time. So, for example, if you were using it with the GPS for directions, you wouldn't be able to snap a quick photo without swapping out modules. It was a nuisance.

Then devices like the Treo 180 came out and brought the concept of an all-in-one 'smartphone'. This was one unit that would be your phone, pda and allow you to have some minor web surfing capabilities. Manufacturers continued to build on this concept, adding more and more functionality until a smartphone like the iPhone was born. And as they added more features to phones, power technology wasn't able to keep up- you can't listen to your music for hours, have another conversation for another few hours and surf the web without your battery taking a severe hit and needing to be recharged several times during the day.
And just like that, another shift has begun- back to carrying multiple devices. Only this time they are much more powerful than before, and we can appreciate why we are spreading our needs across devices and platforms. In another few years, hopefully, we should begin to see new all-in-one smartphones incorporating the strength of these new devices with the battery power to back it all up.

blog comments powered by Disqus