Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I love the smell of convergence -January 12th

By Najeeb Khan

Our industry has been suffering convergence fever and tablets are now being prescribed to relieve the symptoms. The terms UMPC & MID seem to have been dumped as manufacturers prepare a plethora of tablets, slates and eReaders to launch at consumers during 2010.

Small-screen-browsing has improved immeasurably in recent years thanks to devices such as the iPhone, Android phones and Nokia’s N900 and the wide spread adoption of webkit as a common rendering engine.

This experience, whilst portable and convenient, is still not quite as rich as a full PC-based experience for a variety of reasons with screen-real-estate being the most glaringly obvious one.

But this new generation of connected appliances will spawn ecosystems beyond the internet browsing, emailing and social networking that modern smartphones have recently been praised for:
  • Traditional publishers of printed content such as Newscorp, TimeWarner, Hearst, Meredith and Conde Nast, seeking ways to monetise their content in the age of convergence, have formed a joint venture to publish their content called Next Issue Media aimed at creating a standard for formatting and charging for rich-media-content.
  • Film and TV producers and broadcasters are increasingly making their content available for the PC, and other connected devices. Services such as Hulu in the USA and BBC iPlayer in the UK are already extremely popular. Some of these services already support small-screen-devices but a plethora of new, larger screen, portable devices dedicated to media consumption will no doubt stimulate renewed activity in harnessing the portable video revenue that is undoubtedly out there.
  • Portable gaming could potentially begin to compete with, and will certainly enhance, the experience available in the living room, location based services could offer you that much more simultaneously and instantaneously related to your location, mobile advertising could be that much more impactful and one-to-one selling/teaching/counselling could be more personal.

The new generation of portable, instant on, easy-to-use connected appliances will take the drag of computing. Traditional PCs/laptops, will of course still have their place but will likely take a back seat to this new generation of lifestyle companions.

Perhaps 2010 will be remembered as the year that began the revolution in portable lifestyle companions.

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