Thursday, June 17, 2010

Technological Convergence :: The Mastery of the Mashup


Wired had a feature with images of good and bad examples of technological convergence, i.e., what marketing folks call the combination of two or more products to ostensibly create value. In web circles, such combos are often called mashups. 

The prototypical example I've used is the clock radio. Alarm clock plus radio is an old standby. I'm all for computing devices/appliances that take advantage of the convergence of media. If I could seamlessly and with mobility access my data {securely} in all of its forms {multimedia, telephony, files, etc.} with devices that add value, I'm all for it.

The above example from the Wired feature is the Entourage eDGe, a combination tablet and e-reader for $500. Wired wasn't impressed, as evident in their their review. Here's the 10 second tired/wired overview::
WIRED Swinging combo of an E Ink display and LCD screen. Journal for note-taking is actually useful. Innovative hardware design.  
TIRED Sluggish. Poor touchscreen performance. No 3G connectivity. Weak battery life. Smaller selection of online books in the bookstore compared to Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.com.
Back to the drawing board.

In terms of "mashups", I've thought about combination devices with multiple screens. Way in the pre-iPad days of last August, I mused about a combo Macbook Pro/iPhone device. I think I'm still stuck on the idea of a full-blown laptop tethered to an iPhone device to use as a modem. 

Now, I'd like that laptop to have both a keyboard and a multitouch screen, in a form factor that allows a clamshell configuration that could allow the screen to be propped up or lie flat. How about a Macbook or Macbook Pro that could allow an iPad function as a removable "module" that doubles as a touchscreen AND triples as a 3G connection. The current iPads have just a 9.7" diagonal screen {1024-by-768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch}, which would be a stretch. Ideally, with a 13" multitouch screen that would snap into place. So, the iPad 3G with the larger screen might be upwards of $800 US/$879 CAN and the Macbook Pro that would work the best for me would have 8GB RAM at $1,200 US/$1,669 CAN. I'd replace the hard drive with a 500GB second-generation hybrid SATA/Flash device for $120 US. I'd be content to use Skype for telephony. I would easily pay upwards of $2,200 US for that mashup.



Song:: The Silence Xperiment-'Bohemian Wanksta'

Twitterversion:: [blog] Wired feature on mashups highlights good, bad, & ugly, incl. tablet/e-readr. Thoughts on iPad/Macbook Pro mashup. @Prof_K


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