Posts Tagged ‘Tablet’

The Convergence of Convenience

We are, undeniably, living in an age of convergence. A convergence of ideas, cultures and technology which transcends even the most well defined boundaries. Practicality is the name of the game in the present environment where time is of the essence and every minute wasted is translated into money lost. In other words, time has evolved into a sort of a financial aspect which corporates keep tabs on owing to the cut throat competition. If your device takes more time than your rival’s to process a task, it is considered redundant and is substituted. There is no room for complacency because the minute you develop a piece of software or hardware, your rival will have developed a more efficient one. Hence the process of evolution is continuous and the consumer is left with a plethora of choices for his every need. Whether that’s a boon or a bane is a subject of debate. That technology today caters to almost every human need is a fact that needn’t be argued upon; yet there is always that longing for that elusive piece of the tech puzzle that would represent the ultimate convergence of human conveniences.

The humble Mobile Phone has gone a long way since it’s first, almost prehistoric, form. It no longer is just a device to make calls and send messages. Current mobile phones do so much more. No longer do you need a separate mp3 player or a camera or even a laptop, because the mobile phone of today is a convergence of all these technologies into just one, highly mobile and efficient device. Applications and software for smartphones have various utilities which further reduce the need for separate hardware. An array of operating systems are now being implemented on mobile phones and the dominance of Symbian Java is under threat by OS’s such as Windows Mobile, Palm OS, Linux, MeeGo, Maemo etc. The Android OS developed by Google features multitasking and is capable of running virtual operating systems, which is surely a great feature for developers and geeks alike. The 4G standards aim at providing the user with a data rate of 100 Mbit/s while the client physically moves at high speeds relative to the station, and 1 Gbit/s while client and station are in relatively fixed positions. This means that streaming of HDTV programming, video chat, MMS etc. will all be seamlessly available to the user on the move, with ease.

Laptops, which were once seen as the ultimate replacement for its bulky counterpart – the Desktop, is now under threat by Netbooks. Optimized for low cost and low weight, they are an ideal companion for the businessman on the move providing him with everything from business applications, Internet on the move, to entertainment; all with great battery life. Another competitor in this area is the Tablet PC. It is a laptop PC equipped with a stylus and a touchscreen which aims at providing a more-mobile and highly functional alternative to the laptop. It provides the user the choice of operating system that he prefers which further gives it an edge over similar devices. Yet the power of the Laptop is its saving grace. A high end laptop can easily compete with a Desktop PC and deliver the same if not better user experience in gaming, software development, animation etc.

Derivatives of the Tablet PC are PDA’s and eBook readers that are so in vogue these days. Even though they do not provide a choice of OS for the user, and are quite rigid in their application, these devices are battling for a chunk of the market share among computing devices. eBook readers are optimized for reading books in the digital format. A huge library of eBooks available online complements these devices. The recently introduced Apple iPad is the perfect example. It’s an eBook reader equipped with bluetooth, WiFi and 3G, truly representing a convergence of technologies. It’s competitors, the Adam tablet, HP Slate, Amazon Kindle etc. are great alternatives with better features at a similar and sometimes even less cost.

Among this revolution of mobile gadgetry there is a dark horse that is still putting up a fight. The Television is not far behind in implementing the latest technologies and integrating itself with various other devices. Notwithstanding it’s bulky nature, the latest HDTV’s, 3DTV’s, Plasma, LED and LCD televisions are still competing in the home entertainment market. The quality of picture and sound delivered by these televisions is currently unmatched by any laptop. Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) is a great example of one technology adapting itself to another. IPTV is a system through which internet television services are delivered over the internet and broadband Internet access networks, instead of being delivered through traditional radio frequency broadcast, or cable television. Coupled with complementary Satellite TV technology, the IPTV provides a new level of interactive services to the user with a huge range of channels to choose from every part of the world and features of live television, time-shifted programming, and video on demand delivered right to the users living room.

VeriChip's implantable RFID device

The next level of live, boundless, wireless human interaction with technology is the Microchip. A human microchip implant is an integrated circuit device or RFID transponder encased in silicate glass and implanted in the body of a human being. An implant typically contains a unique ID number that can be linked to information contained in an external database, such as personal identification, medical history, medications, allergies, and contact information. No longer would you need to carry a wallet containing money or a number of credit cards for shopping. The microchip would contain all information of your bank accounts and this would be used for all transactions. A device that actually resides in you and becomes a part of you. A true representation of convergence indeed.

But with it comes the hazards of the compromise of privacy. We have already granted access to our personal details, likes, dislikes to major websites through social networking and other means knowingly or otherwise. Imagine the near future where governments have  made microchip implants compulsory on grounds of keeping a continuous eye on its citizens. Coupled with data gathered from your Internet activity, every little  private information of every person would be available and then stored in databases following which every move of yours would be watched. An uncomfortable proposition indeed.

We stand at the cusp of a technological revolution. A revolution which in itself is evolving through our search for that decisive technology which would quench our eternal thirst for convenience. Let us hope though that this revolution sets us free instead of making us slaves to our own creations.