On this blog we have been writing a lot of posts on mobile phones, and, sometimes, about other kinds of consumer electronic devices.
We have seen the functionality of mobile phone evolve over time, offering to the customer always new functionality.
Bluetooth, WiFi, better camera lens, Global Positioning System, motion sensors and so on. From this point of view we have seen these devices grow from simple communication devices to multi-functional devices. Some of them are more specialized than others (just look at the Nokia N93), while some other are more general purpose devices (Nokia N73, just to cite one).
A result of this is that it is quite difficult to define what is a mobile phone anymore. It changes it’s shape while you are using it.
The second effect of this trend is that you are bringing with you a number of different technologies all integrated in the same device.
On the other side we need to observe that consumer electronics devices are also changing.
A few examples to clarify the concept:
- Navman N60i integrates a camera than allow you to take photos and automatically geotag them.
- WiFi memory card are coming to DSLRs cameras.
These are only two examples but you can understand the point.
We could create a map of what technology goes into what consumer electronics devices. That will show up some interesting findings.
You will notice a lot of replication in this kind of map.
We will end up bringing with us two GPSs, three WiFi cards and so on.
I think there are some interesting questions that will need to be answered:
- Is there any chance to have some harmonization in this?
- Which device is going to play a central role?
My personal opinion is that the mobile phone will have to play a central role. Between all of the devices the mobile phone is probably the only one we will have with us every time.
Here is the scenario that I would like to become a reality in the near future:
- The phone will offer internet connectivity to all the satellite devices the user will bring with him. (Camera, GPS, etc. etc.)
- The phone will offer positioning information to satellite devices.
- Devices will communicate with some PAN (Personal Area Network) technology. (e.g. bluetooth)
As you can see all the technology is already there.
According to my opinion some devices are too specialized to end up being integrated in a mobile phone. Just to make an example: a DSLr camera will always have better performance that a mobile phone camera and a dedicated GPS device will always work better than the same application on a mobile phone.
Why do I blog this? I think that the mobile phone has to become an enabling device for other consumer electronics devices offering services and connectivity.