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Recently I was asked about what single piece of my formidable tech arsenal was my favorite… my answer: the next one. But seriously, while most new devices bring something to the party, there is always something promised, but unfulfilled. Perhaps it is my lifetime during this “technological Mesozoic” (as we move towards a fully “post-PC” era) that makes the convergence of human experience and technological enhancement my own “holy grail”. So… the more realistic question is: what my favorite gadget is so far?
That answer is easier, as one device is currently the singular king of convergence: the smartphone. Personally, I own an iPhone and it rarely leaves my possession. It connects wirelessly to my car, enhancing it. A Nike FuelBand connects via Bluetooth and monitors my physical activity. Soon, the Pebble e-paper watch (direct link, Kickstarter) will connect and bring some of the functions to my wrist. Someday after that, Google Glass (direct link, Google) will bring the ideal close to fruition as technology output becomes one with biological input. All in our desire to have a real-world experience of 2001′s Minority Report.
Looking back, the first steps towards these devices were the personal digital assistants (PDAs) that came to the consumer in the late 1980s. My own history started with a Philips Velo1 and through several Palm and Handspring devices, (including the several Visor models, the Visor Phone and three different Treos). With the advent of the smartphone, I tried many with several different operating systems, avoiding the first generation iPhone due to it’s web-app only system. Then in 2008, with Apple’s acceptance of off-line applications, I bought an iPhone 3G and have been enthralled ever since.
The smartphone is the keystone that makes all the accessories function, both the brain and the network hub. Applications will continue to be developed to take advantage of constantly more powerful hardware – the largest hindrance to the full potential of these devices is now (and will continue to be) the bandwidth supplying data to these smartphones. The convergence of consumer electronics and our experience of the world is an inevitable part of developing technology, without a doubt having nearly insurmountable barriers, but certainly inevitable. And me? I cannot wait.
- Tiny Furry Mammals In The Post-PC Era (technogorilla.com)