There seems to be a trend where when a new classification of consumer electronic device is released, there are calls for the item to be the ‘everything’ device. Software and hacks are done to pull as much functionality into the device, regardless if the device is the best choice for the operation. Today, it’s the tablet, and perhaps it could be the ‘everything’ device. Before that, it was the cellphone and some people haven’t begun to give up hope that the smart phone is the pinion of our lives. My thoughts are that this sort of thing happens all the time, right now the pendulum is swinging toward the tablet as the The Device You Need, Ever but I am sure that it will swing back again and open up a diaspora of new electronic gadgets.
To put a little more fuel on the fire, we have to think that there are a lot of innovative people out there that will think of challengers to the tablet and nearly just as many manufacturers who’d like to get a little taste of the action. Finally, there are plenty of people who just can’t or won’t buy a tablet but would still like a sampling of the functionality. When we think of these sorts of products we think of the paltry knock-offs that only appear as shadows of the originals and only seem to wash ashore in less than glamorous stores, but there are also a lot interesting products that breed a bit of contrarian excitement. I think now it’s interesting to start thinking of what these secondary products are going to be who co-exist in the new tablet-driven world.
This little device from Sony Ericsson seems to point in a possible direction. Granted, it’s designed to be used with cellphones, although it could probably be easily re-tasked for tablets. Its initial task for which it was designed seems a bit suspect but for what Engadget bills as “very much like a desktop widget” seems quite intriguing. I think the trick is to look past it’s primary function and to envision alternate, perhaps more interesting and useful functions.
The crux of the thought is that there will be times when you wouldn’t want to drag around all of the functionality or dimension of the devices just to have one bit of it, yet still maintain a connected gadget world. With the full pockets of todays world and the large phones at odds with small clutches, these devices may become quite valuable. I see these helper devices making one aspect more convenient, like this Bluetooth wristband that vibrates when a call is incoming. If you could remotely talk to your phone or tablet, what could you do? Maybe a more interesting question is what would you do if you had a collection of real-life desktop widgets? Perhaps you could spread them out to use only for specific functions?