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Do you want it all-in-one?

Posted by Yannis Lionis on 11 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: Technology

I read Robbie’s post about convergence of devices (one device to rule them all) and got thinking about the behavioural aspect of it. Robbie argues that although it’s handy to have one device that’s your phone, internet access, GPS, camera - pretty much everything really - it makes for expensive upgrades as you stop using your bespoke devices and you get in trouble as you have to change when one feature breaks.

I would go one step further than that. I think that all-in-one is convenient only for the things you don’t care about much. For example, it might be just me, but I don’t find it convenient to use my phone as my main camera - my (cheap and insignificant) digital camera is much better equipped for that - better resolution, bigger screen, more features. Yes, I don’t always have it with me, but I can live with that. Then again I look at the photography enthusiasts (Dr. Pepper and psd for example)  who have massive SLR cameras with huge lenses and I can’t imagine they care much about taking photos on their phone. It seems to me that taking a random photo of something funny you see on the street is all the camera on your phone is good for. I think this goes for the other features as well. Listening to music on your all-in-one device will probably only be good enough if you don’t listen to that much music, and you don’t bother about noise-cancelling headphones etc.

You can easily disagree with my view on the above examples, but my point is that I see a behavioural trend towards specialised devices. People care about a really good camera, really good music experience etc. And it’s hard to build one device that’s really good a lot of things, it’s actually hard enough to build a device that’s good at one thing. An all-in-one device will inevitably be a compromise and will only be good enough for the things you don’t care that much about. On top of that, once you get used to a particular device for one feature, it would be annoying to have to change because another feature broke.

Or maybe I’m just a bit old and used to having different devices for different things. Maybe growing up in a world full of all-in-one devices means that you accept how good they are at each particular feature and can’t imagine having loads of different devices.

We’ll see which type prevails!