The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Saturday, November 23, 2002

A refrigerator with Internet access. A cellphone that's also a personal organizer AND an MP3 player. An oven that doubles as a refrigerator. What an age we live in!

It's an age where, in certain product sectors, it's increasingly difficult to buy a single-purpose device that does the job well. The reason for that is that manufacturers find it's a safer bet to pack lots of bells and whistles into products in the off-chance that the combo will catch fire. In further evidence of the convergence of technology with the everyday world, this strategy closely resembles the perpetual search for the "killer app" that's supposed to result in monster sales penetration.

I found the cellphone example to start the article to be most appropriate. In my own experience, I've found myself upgrading to a new cellphone every year or two just to get a couple of new little whiz-bang features. My current phone has WAP-enabled web access, a limited organizer/calendar, a couple of time-killer games, a calculator and an alarm clock. I use some of these features a lot, and others never.