On 29 Aug 2004, at 13:49, Timothy Murphy wrote:
> Not an answer to your query, but more a question of my own.
> Isn't this hankering after one device that does everything misguided?
Not necessarily - I have a Sony Ericsson P900, and it has genuinely
been a revelation and a revolution. Having a portable device which is
sufficiently competent to contain my contacts database, appointments
schedule, "to-do" checklist *and* which has an always-on connection to
the Internet and a good browser is a huge step forward. It's true, I
don't use the camera functionality much (or at all), but that's
possibly because I always carry my Pentax Optia S4 also.
> People have been talking of convergence for decades,
> but as far as I can see it has got absolutely nowhere.
I disagree. Maybe you're just not looking at the latest devices.
There's a decent spectrum of devices available, some of which lean more
towards the "phone" end of things (eg: Nokia 6600), others more towards
"PDA" (eg: Sony Ericsson P900), but it's not true to say that
convergence hasn't happened.
> Will camera phones really take off?
Two things are currently preventing this : the poor quality of the
cameras, and the extortionate cost of MMS messaging. The first is
obviously a technological issue which will be resolved in future
generations; the second requires careful attention to price elasticity
of demand on the part of the network operators (better to have a
million messages at ten cents or ten thousand messages at eighty
> Whatever happened to Wap and GPRS?
WAP is still going, albeit in a form which never attained the heights
originally envisioned. It has been somewhat bypassed by the newest
phones which can handle full HTTP and HTML without the need for the
reduced functionality of WAP. I think WAP still has a medium-term
future, however, as phones will always be small-screen devices compared
to laptops and desktops. Nothing has happened to GPRS, as far as I can
determine - I use it every day, and it's an excellent stop-gap until 3G
coverage starts to take off.
> It is interesting that the one undisputed success of the mobile phone
> is the completely unheralded option of text messages.
It is. And a success which is *still* largely ignored by the U.S.
industry. Which is weird.
> Most inventions reach their ideal state after a relatively short time,
> eg the bicycle, the car and even the computer.
Ah, but the "converged" devices are *not* merely go-faster stripes;
they are a genuinely new thing. Sure, you can argue that it's
evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but I find the ability to
access the Web at reasonable speed *immediately*, wherever I am, and to
have all of my "life" database (contacts, calendar, etc) in my pocket
on a smart device with a good UI, to be real progress. With 3G comes
live portable videoconferencing, a massive increase in speed, and many
other possibilities such as television, downloadable or streaming
movies, and whatnot. If the pricing of these ends up sensible (I have
no doubt but that initial pricing will be ludicrous), I don't see why
they couldn't take off and be accepted into mainstream usage.
Colm Buckley / colm at tuatha.org / www.colm.buckley.name / +353 87 2469146
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