Fresh & New(er)

discussion of issues around digital media and museums by Seb Chan

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Orlowski on why there aren’t any smartphones

July 22nd, 2006 by Seb Chan

Given that I am in the market for a new phone I’ve been bitterly disappointed by the lack of truly ‘converged’ devices out here on the market. The most ‘feature rich’ have usability problems when it comes to making phone calls (touchscreen dialing! why?), and those that have really usable decent sized phone/numeric keypads force you to use SMS or predictive keystrokes for your email. Don’t get me started on the camera features.

The always enetrtaining and rather cynical Andrew Orlowski explores why there aren’t any real smartphones – or truly ‘coverged’ devices – available.

t one time, the future of mobiles looked simple. The smartphone was a new kind of gadget that was subsuming the pager, the camera, the PDA, the Walkman, and almost every other iece of technology you could carry – and offering it in volume at an irresistible price. Often free. Over time, every phone would become a smartphone.
Expectations were sky high.

Worthwhile reading.

I’m surprised Orlowski didn’t mention the 6th excuse . . . . that of device manufacturers having an economic disincentive to creating the uber-device. If customers are happily (or unhappily) buying existing products then why create a product that destroys the market for the rest of your range? Or one that threatens the manufacturer’s relationship with the networks it relies on – and thus forces any emerging device to be seriously crippled (the iPodPhone for example)?

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