I have seen a bit of a change, not only in my use of technology, but in everyday use of technology by all people. More than just being connected all of the time, we are looking at why we are connected and getting those devices that solve problems, and not just make us look good (though the success of the RAZR from Motorola does make me wince a bit). But the truth is out there, and it basically says that after years of computers taking us away from personal interactions with one another, we are now looking at computers to come alongside of our usages so we can be productive.
So, as one who has been without the Internet via his laptop for a while and has therefore gone to using a Treo 600 as the main Internet device; can I say that convergence can work? Well, it can; but there are compromises to be made and those really are the make it or break it moments for many people. So what have I done that has basically made me change my mind in one year from being against converged/smartphone type devices to now liking smartphones and thinking that given a few developments, they really can be the next step for all users of PDAs and many users of laptops?
Well, for one, I noticed something about my Internet usage. Except for downloading program updates, and sending the occasional 10MB email, I really don’t need a broadband connection. I admit, Cingular’s speedy connection has been good to me on my Treo and the thought of broadband speeds for devices like Treos and other PDA phones is quite appealing. I do a ton of email and even though it hasn’t been the greatest of email clients, VersaMail has been really good to me in allowing me to view at least 7 of the 12 email accounts that I have. Granted, I could use Snappermail or ChatterEmail to get more accounts and for more functionality, but this has worked for me and I didn’t need to spend a lot of time setting up things.
Currently, I am writing this article via my Treo and Palm Universal Wireless Keyboard. At one time I thought the Treo’s screen was too small for doing this. Now I think it’s actually
quite comfortable and if it weren’t for the fact that I develop websites for a living, I could see myself serving my clients from this interface just fine. Now, the browser does need to improve, but I think that the web development issue that is being addressed with the .mobi domain, and other initiatives that software and hardware developers are looking at, is making the idea and action of staying on my Treo just a bit longer, a lot more feasible.
The optimal solution would be to take my Treo and place it in a dock and use a full sized keyboard and monitor that would be able to showing more on the screen (and maybe multiple windows also) so that I can work on different items at the same time. And while the current Palm OS is not capable of doing this, Windows Mobile and Symbian are able to have different workspaces of much higher resolution than what is on your screen. That would be one of the items that I could easily see making a converged device quite mainstream for all people; and one that would make it a no-brainer for me in keeping with a converged device for all except the most demanding of tasks.
But can it work for all?
Well, yes, but it would take time and a team effort on the part of developers, and websites such as BargainPDA to inform people of the advantages and abilities of going to a converged platform for most computing needs. And while a smaller screen does mean that one will miss a ton of the big screened Internet experience, I think that we can all get along if more attention gets paid to usability.