Specialists can be better than jack-of-all-trades

Last month, I talked about convergence and the emergence of multi-purpose devices. It was a timely post.

Check out the recent hype surrounding the launch of the updated iPhone. Media reports give the impression the whole world wants all-purpose, smart phone technology.

While the queues of eager customers snaking around Apple stores are representative of high demand for converged devices, we should also retain a sense of perspective.

Convergence is a popular and well-supported theory, but an alternative school of thought suggests we are about to enter a period of device divergence.

Rather than relying on a single converged device that attempts to cover as many technical areas as possible, the divergence concept recognises users will not necessarily demand converged technology because it is possible to bring together component parts.

Divergence is a more than plausible theory because many people still hold separate devices, despite modern phones including a range of smarter options.

Everything comes down to an issue of quantity versus quality: just because a device holds many applications doesn’t mean an individual will use them.

Rather than a one-size-fits all approach, more individuals are actually looking for specialist devices for specific purposes, such as a BlackBerry for email and an iPod for music.

In summary, devices essentially consist of an input mechanism, such as a keyboard, touch or movement – and an output means, including graphics, voice and text. Other essential elements are memory and a central processing unit.

Finding ways to connect the elements of such devices will be crucial. And if you can successfully connect the various components, users will be able to integrate a range of separate technologies through wireless technology.

While people may prefer using their specialist devices, some element of connectivity will be essential – especially if individuals want different applications on different devices to communicate.

Any user experiences are possible, once we recognise the logic of specific applications can be transferred to any output mechanism. Here’s to a future of multiple users for single devices.


Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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