On Mobility & Digital Convergence
The idea of convergence took quite a bit longer to reach the masses than initially thought to. While being talked about for over two decades, the ability to combine voice, video, data, text, and money into applications has only recently come to full fruition and accessibility for the masses.
The idea of convergence is a very important for the mobile individual because it allows for a variety of tasks and activities to be accomplished using a single device. The days of hundreds of peripheral devices littering backpacks and cluttering workspaces is being left in the dust as devices are becoming more and more capable of handling a larger array of tasks.
While devices are able to encompass carrying out more and more tasks, the all-in-one device has eluded product developers for a number of reasons. In order to increase mobility and decrease size, devices of the past have had to sacrifice processor power and battery life as there was simply no room in the case for large batteries. With the increasingly small profiles of the ever-powerful processors being turned out for mobile devices these days, the steps toward the all-in-one device are turning into leaps and bounds. Batteries are keeping pace with processors in terms of becoming increasingly small-profiled while boosting their power and efficiency and has been one of the main reasons for the cases of smartphones and tablets being able to be almost impossibly slimmed down.
As batteries and processors continue to slim down, screens have also played a large role in the shape of mobile devices. Early screens were small and mostly consisted of black pixels on green backlighting. Keyboards took up a lot of room on the device as a way for users to interact and navigate through the device. These days, screens have become larger, and on most devices, are touch-enabled and include the keyboard functionality. The larger screen (touch-enabled) allows the user to interact in a more fluid way with the device. Along with touchscreens, haptic feedback can be enabled and is by default on many devices as a way to let the user know that there was a successful selection of a button, whether it be number or letter. This turns the flat screen into a more effective keyboard for the user and allows for a better user experience in general.
Mobile convergence has come a long ways from the early days of the mobile device. Instead of the pathetic SMS send/receive and huge external antenna; Instead of the old cell phone with the only amenity being the Global Positioning System; Instead of the camera phones, which only have access to e-mail and 2G internet; Instead of tablets with a stylus as the only means of input, we have phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S III, with a large 4.8 inch, Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen and 720x1280 display, an 8MP camera, 4G built-in data access speeds, and a super sleek 10+ hour talk-time Li-Ion battery, predictive text, etc…
As you can see from the above specs, mobile convergence has come a dramatic distance in only a couple of decades. As the release of the iPhone 5 has come about and as Samsung, Apple, and many other mobile device manufacturers innovate and push limits of what their devices will do, it will be very interesting to see how long it will be until the truly all-in-one device comes about for mobile users.