Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Digital Convergence Very Fluid Today

Mobile convergence is a topic I've covered quite often here at Onxo.  Right now, the closest thing we have to anything like what we've talked about are netbooks with 3G connections.  And even then, it's not even close to what we envision it to be.  

Here's a rundown on what we expect:

  • Internet
  • GPS, Compass (like G1)
  • Touch-screen, multi-touch, multi-input
  • Ubiquitous network access (3G, WiMax, and definitely Wi-Fi)
  • Music and Multimedia player
  • Simple office-type document access
  • Better battery-life - 24 hours minimum
  • Access to a cloud system for more storage and processing power
  • Still picture and video capture
  • Video-chat along with the standard messaging systems (SMS, e-mail, IM, etc.)
  • eWallet
  • 6-10" screen

So far, there are no mobile device that does all that adequately.  In GigaOM's post, we've find out that there will be 200 million mobile devices that includes netbooks, UMPCs, and other mobile Internet devices.  However, the category of ultramobile devices is subject to debate as netbooks and XO's really are only a year old and UMPCs have not really lit the mobile market on fire.  Nokia's N810 comes close however.

But we do see a trend towards mobile functionalities in a handheld that allows mobile users to do a myriad of daily work without sacrificing efficiency.  We disagree with GigaOM that today's devices are being made to do too many things.  Like what is consider too many?  

It may be the situation of we'll know it when we see it.  Dell, HP, Microsoft, and Apple are working it I'm sure.  Dell and HP already have their netbooks while Microsoft provides the OS.  We've seen nothing from Apple but this mobile device with converged functionalities is right up their alley.  Maybe it's the fabled tablet (I think we're a couple of years from seeing anything like that from Apple).

But 200 million devices in the next five years where a bunch of mobile devices are lumped together is not as difficult to realize as one might thing.  And this is largely being aided by the weak global economy when a $300 device will do most of what a $600-700 laptop from Best Buy can do.

So, while we cannot define this category now, make no mistake we're converging in a set of devices that can and will do it all.  Right now, my money's on mobile platforms specifically designed from the ground up for it.

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