Minimizing the Problem

Posted in Tech at 10 pm

The issues with the ongoing miniaturization of electronic devices leads to a situation where if the device is to continue to evolve, it must make one of two leaps:

A) Integration: Integration is the path that we see the iPhone taking us down as many other tools are doing. You can’t hardly find a cell phone that is only a phone now. Your average digital camera has audio playback of MP3s. Your average MP3 player also plays videos. My phone is a combination address book, note pad, camera, photo album, movie player, music player, weather reporter, stock ticker, scoreboard, text messenger, pager, flashlight, and watch.

B) Wireless interfaces or control at a distance: voice-activated interfaces are the most common way of dealing with miniaturization or other situations that are hands free. Remember, operating hands free can be by choice, not dictated by the situation as with phones in automobiles. The advances in voice-activated dialing from cars has migrated to Bluetooth headsets. Once we get used to talking to our appliances, everything will be more easily controlled. Think of microwave ovens with an interface you can tell “cook this for 3 minutes” and you don’t have to figure out which particular combination of buttons that specific model uses.

Car keys are evolving into key fobs that simply unlock a car as you approach with the fob in your pocket or handbag. By why have a fob-sized device when you only need something large enough to hold a battery. Or take it a step further with an RFID-based sliver of silicon that uses radio wave itself to power the transmitter.

Every mainstream video game console today comes with wireless controllers. The next big leap in connecting home entertainment systems is wireless using W-USB or WiFi. Network Attached Storage like Apple’s TimeCapsule take the storage of digital information and put it in the back room, away from the physical interface elements entirely.

In my next post, I’ll run through some of the effects that these changes will have on some of our current devices and see what the future might bring to them as well as what additional devices may appear.

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