It’s the big question these days among mobile computing enthusiasts and industry insiders: one piece or two? Whether there’s truly a correct answer to this modern day dilemma only time will tell, but we though we’d take a closer look at some of the factors involved in making your own decision.
Let’s start by exploring the two sides of the argument and their headstrong opinions on the matter.
One person, one device
Are you convinced that true mobile happiness will only be achieved when you’re carrying around one device that does it all: call your friends, browse the web, fetch your email, play music and videos, and juggle all the intricacies of your personal and professional life? If so, like Ron Cleever, you’re a candidate for the one-piece camp.
"Why should I have to carry around all of these things?" says Cleever, med student by day, musician by night, pointing to the pager, cellphone and PDA affixed to his belt. "If I’ve got my cellphone in one hand and my Visor Prism in the other, how do I hold my beer?"
Cleever believes that the ability to perform tasks such as calling someone simply by selecting their name from your list of contacts will win many people over to the one-piece world. That and the obvious convenience of having to carry only one electronic gadget with you.
Cleever’s got his eye on a Handspring Treo communicator, but is willing to wait for the color 270 model due out late this year.
"Give me one device or give me death!" he adds.
Two heads are better than one
Two-piecers, on the other hand, don’t necessarily dispute the merits of convergence–at least to a point. "There’s peanut butter and there’s jelly, and they go together well," says lawyer Seth Golden. "But just ask Smuckers how many jars of Goober Grape they’ve sold. Not many."
Golden would rather find the perfect combination of cellphone and PDA that work together wirelessly and seemlessly. He points out that if you’re on the phone and need to refer to your calendar or take a note you’d be out of luck with a single device. Also, you often lock yourself into a specific telecommunications carrier and network.
"Most of these new convergent devices will end up as technology’s equivalent of the spork," says Golden, referring to the combination spoon and fork found in some fast food restaurants. "Not good for soup and not good for spaghetti."
Golden hasn’t make up his mind yet whether he’ll go for a Bluetooth-enabled Compaq iPAQ 3870 Pocket PC or a Palm m515 with a Palm Bluetooth SecureDigital Card to match with his Sony Ericsson cellphone.
"Now we’re into that whole Pocket PC versus Palm thing," he laughs. "Which is just another mess."
A phone is a phone is a phone
One thing that Cleever and Golden agree on: it’s unlikely that many people will make the switch to using a headset or earbud for voice calls.
"It’s not going to happen," says Cleever, citing one reason why he’s leaning toward the Treo. "Yeah, you may see some people walking down the street talking into an earpiece thing, but it’ll be very few. It’s a behavior that’s just too ingrained in people."
"A phone still has to work like a phone," adds Golden. "Stylus pens and headsets are awkward. Besides, I want to use a phone for my voice calls and a PDA for my computing needs, with the phone serving its communications needs."
"I’d still like one device," says Cleever.
Which camp are you in?
Obviously, Cleever and Golden are in different camps on this one, and it’s likely a topic that many of us will be struggling with as we enter the new world of wireless communications.
Now’s your turn, join us on the discussion board and let us know your thoughts on this.
Are you one piece or two?