I suffer from device fatigue.
Not just the kind where I cannot deal with the sheer number of connected devices, gadgets and gizmos being released every day – but the kind where I am overwhelmed with the number of devices that I actually already own.
I have a Macbook Air, a Sony Vaio running Windows 8, a Surface Pro tablet, a Nokia Lumia 920, a first-generation iPad and a Kindle, and in my living room I also have an XBOX 360.
And that’s not counting devices that I have temporarily for testing or benchmarking… the iPads, the Galaxies, the Kindle Fires…
Now, I like devices, and I work for a device company and my job is building device software, so i’m trying to build them into my life… but I just cannot deal with having so many different devices. The basket under the bookshelf where I put old devices is overflowing with dead, partially working or even fully functional devices that I just can’t find a good reason to carry anymore.
They all have their specific use cases and particular strong points: the MacBook’s power and good quality hard keyboard; the tablet’s big screen but relative portability; the smartphone’s ultra-portability and LTE connection… But the real problem is that there is maybe 80% crossover in the use cases and usage contexts of the different form factors, and this is frustrating and tiring.
I want one device that does everything – but I don’t want to trade the specific benefits of particular form factors, like the portability of my Lumia 920 and its amazing camera, or the stylus/drawing input of the tablet, or the physical keyboard and relative horsepower of my Macbook.
One of the greatest challenge now facing connected device manufacturers I think is the next form factor. The form factor that truly converges the fragmented connected device space.
While the last 5 years or so since tablets started their meteoric blast into consumers’ living rooms the focus has been on device divergence – building devices of every conceivable form factor, with increasing household incomes (in first-world markets) driving a huge increase multi-device ownership.
The next 5 years will be about device convergence. The search for the next form factor that unites your devices into a single, adaptable and flexible touchpoint.