Technology advances every month offering new products and, through technology convergence we’re offered products that combine more and more features into one product. However do these advanced products actually benefit us or are they marketing gimmicks to tempt us to purchase products more often?
Contents of my handbag
Two things occurred recently that made me think about the technology I carry in my hanadbag, firstly emptying my bag and realising how many gadgets I carry and secondly searching for a replacement for my mp3 player. So here is what I regularly carry:
Tablet – Samsung Galacy Tab 3
Ereader – Kobo Aura
Phone – HTC One M8
MP3 player – Creative Zen
Camera – Nikon Coolpix P330
All these products have some technology convergence with the ereader having web browsing, the MP3 player plays videos and the camera records video. And my phone has so many features I could use it to replace all the other products.
How the technology overlaps
By analysing the functions of each product it is clear that I’m carrying many duplicates, and for the sake of my back could consider lightening my handbag.
This shows that every function is available on at least two products and that both my phone and tablet have greater functionality than my ereader, MP3 player and Camera.
Do you know how many gadgets you carry? Do you use them for more than one purpose?
Advantages of technology convergence
Obviously the main advantage of technology convergence is carrying more features in fewer devices so you are more likely to be carrying something that does what you want whether that is taking a photograph, listening to music or wanting to read a document. Another advantage of having fewer products is having fewer chargers; I need three different chargers for my products.
My phone particularly has features I like that I don’t have on the other products
taking photographs at the same time as recording video – unlike my camera where I have to decide which to take
auto upload to dropbox – as well as backing up my pictures they are automatically downloaded to the Dropbox folder on my computer making it easier to get the pictures of my camera
Google autoawesome – again automatically backing up my pictures, but then creating fun animated gifs and montages
I love these features so much it is tempting to only take pictures on my phone, but I have to admit I don’t know if these features exist on a modern camera with inbuilt wifi.
Limitations from technology convergence
But, however good these features are they can not replace that my phone is not as good as my camera. My camera has manual settings so I have more control over the appearance of my pictures and it also has optical zoom meaning I can get closer to my subject while maintaining a higher quality image.
I use Pocket to read saved web pages on both my tablet and ereader. I also use both of those devices to read ebooks but in different ways; I read graphic heavy pdfs on the tablet and text ebooks, usually in epub format, on the ereader. However, I prefer using the ereader, particularly in bed, because the e-ink means it is more comfortable to read for long periods of time (however I miss the tagging of articles on the ereader).
My MP3 player works really with Windows Media Player, syncing my auto playlists in both directions so the file information such as rating and last played is the same on both devices. It also allows the creation of bookmarks very useful when listening to audio books. I’m worried my player is starting to fail as I need to reset it more often, but I’m struggling to find one that has the same features even though my requirements has reduced in recent years as I no longer need Napster or Audible compatibility.
My changing habits
I’ve been planning this post for a couple of months and have really thought about my gadgets and I’m trying a few changes. I no longer carry my camera all the time because my phone is good enough to capture most impromptu pictures for my photo a day project. I am also trying Gone Mad Music app on my phone to listen to music which appears good so far.
However, I don’t intend to get rid of my camera and I’m currently researching compact cameras with manual settings because I may need to replace this one soonish. And although Gone Mad Music has pretty good smart playlists it does bother me that this information is not synced with WIndows Media Player as I’m discouraged to play music from my laptop.
I love gadgets and technology, but I wonder if products are moving in the correct direction. Is convenience winning over greater functionality? So for example my phones ability to upload pictures to my camera means I’m more likely to use it than my camera even though the camera takes better pictures. Are these additional features added because we are requesting them, or because they make it easier to market a product?
If you could choose any technologies to converge what would you pick, and why?