Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Big Bang of Convergence

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the whimper-whimper dept.

Hardware 430

joNDoty writes "Businessweek is running a story predicting 'This is going to be the most disruptive period in the past 50 years." The period they are talking about is the digital age of convergence, where every software/hardware manufacturer is racing to link cell phones, tvs and computers into universal devices 'that can't be categorized as tech or consumer electronics.' 'The result is a Big Bang of convergence, and it's likely to produce the biggest explosion of innovation since the dawn of the Internet.' Overrated? Perhaps, but +1 insightful nonetheless." Sure, your fridge will tell you you need milk, but convergence is not necessarily a good thing.

cancel ×

430 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9433330)

FP

Re:FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9433405)

wow. an FP thats actually an FP and doesn't contain stupid words...like Fr0Zty PiZZ or FrisT P0Zt...

Anonymous Coward, I salute you.

check out this company (0, Offtopic)

zomper514 (235646) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433332)

http://www.mediabolic.com

Look at Your Remote Controls (5, Informative)

yoey (247125) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433333)

I don't know about this "convergence" thing. I have 5 remote controls for 5 different products, and I'll be damned if I can find a way to successfully use just for all!

So Sorry- I've only got one. (4, Informative)

mekkab (133181) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433382)

Sorry- I've only got one- SONY's RM-VL900 learns with the best of 'em.

Re:So Sorry- I've only got one. (2, Informative)

tmhsiao (47750) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433568)

I love my VL900s (I have one for the bedroom and one for the living room). All of the LCD-screen monstrosities don't have the comfortable form factor that the VL900 does, and it's capacity to learn other remotes and macros are invaluable.

Re:Look at Your Remote Controls (5, Funny)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433394)

Convergence though, kinda sweet. You can turn on your heated driveway from the comfort of your toilet remote control. That, my friend, is progress.

Re:Look at Your Remote Controls (1)

NarrMaster (760073) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433467)

Ha! Progress my ass! The day I can order my kitchen to fry bacon from my toilet remote control is the day I see progress!

Re:Look at Your Remote Controls (0, Redundant)

cnctvfs (788458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433424)

The remote controls are remotely controlling me!

Re:Look at Your Remote Controls (3, Insightful)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433452)

There are a lot of products intended to deal with your abundance of remotes. Of course, many of them are more difficult to use than it's worth, and some of them cost hundreds of dollars.

Which leads me to my main point - convergence of devices that I use on a regular basis will be a bad idea.

I want a small phone (I keep it with me everywhere). I want a big computer screen and a keyboard that's big enough to type fast on. I want a PDA that can integrate with my other computers, but allows me to use the stylus. I want a digital camera that I can take decent photos with for prints or posting on the web.

Am I asking too much? Look at all the products out there designed to address exactly what I listed above, and not only are they way more expensive than I would ever pay.... but they fail to do any of the things I described, at least to the extent that I want them there.

Simplicity = usability

Deja Vu? (1)

JGski (537049) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433338)

This sounds about as vague as the dot-com boom. I don't believe it.

Sweet.. . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9433343)

Now we'll have a Swiss Army knife of Technology! *I gotta post AC on this one.. heh

Re:Sweet.. . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9433563)

That's old news. We already have such a knife. [thinkgeek.com]

Convergence as Christ (-1, Offtopic)

cnctvfs (788458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433347)

What exactly are we converging to? A higher understanding of our God? This is to be what we want.

I agree. (5, Funny)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433349)

When your toaster tells you that you've got 2 potential e-harmony dates, and your fridge won't shut up about your lousy tv dinner diet, it will be time to move to the mountains.

Re:I agree. (5, Funny)

captainClassLoader (240591) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433416)

"...Julie? Hey, I'm real sorry about last night. My toaster went up in flames with an overdone Pop-Tart(tm), and so I never got your email..."

Re:I agree. (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433548)

"Oh yeah? The fact that you know an email was sent proves you got it."

So much for dating a logic major...

Actually, something similar happened to me when I was nine or ten years old. I was messing around with Legos, and I heard my grandmother call for me over the intercom...it was time for dinner, and she sounded angry, so I hurried down the hall to the dining room.

When I got there, I said, "Sorry. I didn't hear you the first time."

Boy, did I get in trouble.

Re:I agree. (0)

cnctvfs (788458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433489)

very true, this is. rofl

Linking (4, Funny)

isd_glory (787646) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433351)

Linking link cell phones, tvs and computers would be nice... if they could link it with a frickin' flying car already

my tv (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9433355)

I certainly hope that someone can get this big convergence thing to fix my tv's picture.

Please don't converge my fridge (4, Funny)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433357)

I fear the 3l33t snax0rz [aarnet.edu.au] .

Re:Please don't converge my fridge (0)

cnctvfs (788458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433381)

I agree. Who will call me to tell me it is being running away? lol

Convergence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9433365)

Wouldn't this type of convergence help offset the huge wastage caused by production of electronics devices? As it stands it takes too much raw materials to produce common electronics, so logically, by having less electronics, we could save the environment /tree-hugger

Re:Convergence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9433442)

The problem you are referring to is fashion. I have no problem using a 5 year old walkman. I have no problem wearing non-faggy rollerblades from 1997. But most people just buy things based on look. They don't even know how to use them.

Re:Convergence (4, Funny)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433483)

The problem you are referring to is fashion. I have no problem using a 5 year old walkman. I have no problem wearing non-faggy rollerblades from 1997. But most people just buy things based on look. They don't even know how to use them.

*cough* Apple *cough*

go'head kill me.

Re:Convergence (3, Funny)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433625)

OK, I'll bite...my 12" iBook is tiny, tough and responsive. Apple's integration of the OS and hardware make it feel like I'm using a "tangible device" (ie a stereo, refrigerator, fax machine, copier), rather than using an abstracted operating system doing a balancing act on top of hardware.

Re:Convergence (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433609)

As it stands it takes too much raw materials to produce common electronics


Not compared to other products, cars for instance. If you want to reduce wastage, the logical thing is to start with the biggest offender. If cars were built to last longer, if manufacturers wouldn't insist on changing styles to make people buy new models, the resulting economy in materials would be much more than is used in common electronics.

Rome (0, Offtopic)

andrej73 (779231) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433366)

All road lead to ...

Inevitable outcome... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9433369)

Same as any other boom. Huge leaps, then the typical stagnation. We are definitely at the outset of the bread and circuses phase for the wired empire. The shine will wear off the need for the newest of the new when the technology plateaus, and all you have are packaging updates. I can see this coming to a close in far fewer than 50 years. It's a shame that the boom wasn't in connecting people who have no connectivity to anything.

Re:Inevitable outcome... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9433506)

We are definitely at the outset of the bread and circuses phase for the wired empire.
Coolest. Line. Evar.

Good old... (1)

PhilippeT (697931) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433371)

Side talking... man it will not be missed

My thoughts. (4, Insightful)

Cow007 (735705) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433373)

I think often devices that try to do many things succed in doing many things less well than specialized devices. Not only are we going to see a lot of innovation but we are going to see a lot of failed products in the years to come.

Re:My thoughts. (5, Insightful)

Moofie (22272) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433517)

Of course, you're typing your missive on the ultimate counterpoint to your argument.

Hard to imagine a more general purpose tool than a PC.

Re:My thoughts. (2, Insightful)

gunnk (463227) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433565)

That's true, but I'll often trade "the best" for "gets the job done" if it means I can carry around fewer gadgets. I used to have a watch. I don't bother -- the time is on my cellphone. Okay, I have to pull it out of my pocket, so it doesn't tell time as well as a watch in that regard. Then again, my cell phone time is always correct since it gets the time from my carrier.

Likewise, I used to carry a PDA. Kept me organized. Phone numbers? Now those are in my cell phone. Schedule? In my phone. Alarm clock while traveling? Yep, phone.

It isn't as convenient a timepiece as a watch, doesn't store addresses as well as my PDA, has much more limited calendar functions, and isn't as good as a bedside alarm, but I only have to carry ONE item to replace all those others... so I do.

There's always the next big thing (4, Insightful)

Nyder (754090) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433374)

They been saying this, what, 3 years now? Sure it is.

Re:There's always the next big thing (2, Informative)

FirstTimeCaller (521493) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433543)

They been saying this, what, 3 years now?

Three years? Really? Well what do you know [winnetmag.com] ? You're right!

Now if you want a better example of digital convergence gone bad than the N-GAGE, check here [crq.com] .

bah (4, Insightful)

sulli (195030) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433377)

Slow news week for BusinessWeek? "Convergence" has been the "most disruptive EVAR" wave of the future for decades now. It's not like anything has fundamentally changed and everyone wants one device to do everything now that they didn't want before. Who really needs a microwave that surfs the internet, or a television with Caller ID?!

Maybe it's like the metric system, and soccer in America*. It's the wave of the future, and always will be.

* maybe not. US Soccer is #8 in the world now, ahead of Germany!

Re:bah (4, Funny)

Derkec (463377) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433474)

Sorry, but as of Jun 4th, we're 9th in the world. A single point behind Germany. That's one of the things that pisses the world off about us. Even when we don't care about something (like soccer) we're still pretty damn good at it.

Re:bah (1)

edrugtrader (442064) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433500)

television with caller id would be very useful... i'm already watching tv and my phone rings... i would love to see the number on the screen. it might take away some thinkgeek [thinkgeek.com] sales though.

Re:bah (1)

danielobvt (230251) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433538)

soccer in America*
Don't bet on soccer in the US (and I say this as a USMNT and MLS (DC United) fan. 9K people at a World Cup qualification game..... and about a 1/3 were supporting the Grenada team. Really bloody sad, that we cannot put together a good crowd for this game.

Re:bah (1)

Grrr (16449) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433649)

Yep, "consider the source" is particularly relevant here. Perhaps some big advertiser of theirs will be flogging the word "convergence" next week, or next month - and being a good little reliable, objective, alpha-dog information source that they are...

When the moon is in the seventh house
and Jupiter aligns with Mars...


"The age of con-verg-i-ance!"

Hmmm...

<grrr>

Riiight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9433383)

I'll believe this when I can get broadband speeds all across the US, which they keep telling me is a 1st world nation. (whatever that means)

Re:Riiight (1)

Rick the Red (307103) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433572)

The USA is not a 1st World nation. There is no "1st World," unless you mean Europe. Europe is the "Old World." North and South America are the "New World." The rest of the planet is, therefore, the "Third World." Which really makes no sense, since Europe knew about Asia and Africa long before they knew about the "New World." So, really, North and South America are the true "Third World" (if you're European -- the rest of the planet thinks those EU folks are awfully self-centered). Unless you're from Asia or Africa, in which case they're about 5th and 6th World.

Re:Riiight (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433636)

I've decided that being a 1st world nation means that you are the consumers and the rest of the world are the creators of what you consume. The coporations seem to be spreading that point of view- regardless of the propaganda the Labor Department releases.

all for convergence (4, Insightful)

enrico_suave (179651) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433387)

just have to roll up my sleeves and do it myself, because otherwise my "converged" media will be a DRM'd crippled mess.

e.

Re:all for convergence (1)

Wylfing (144940) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433643)

otherwise my "converged" media will be a DRM'd crippled mess

[cynical] There's no otherwise about it. Adding DRM to your toaster is what this is all about. There will absolutely not be any innovation involved. Any innovative uses of (or the mere existence of) devices that universally talk to each other will be killed with prejudice by a storm of lawsuits. [/cynical]

just have to roll up my sleeves and do it myself

[extra-cynical] No, I'm afraid that will be illegal too. [/extra-cynical]

Overrated? +1 Insightfull ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9433400)

Don't think we want to start rating /. submissions. They're mostly -1 Troll anyway.

Digital Convergence? (5, Funny)

norculf (146473) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433403)

I still have my ::CueCat.

Re:Digital Convergence? (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433597)

The bag that my copy of Wired came in was open and the ::CueCat was missing :(

Not that I would have ever used it anyway.

Viriiii (3, Funny)

Kelt (85402) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433404)

I want to see the first person selling Anti-Virus for a refridgerator or reciever.

I should go into business selling whole-home anti-virus licenses. Good for 10 communicating devices per license. Renewable monthly.

-Kelt

Re:Viriiii (2, Funny)

Ctrl-Z (28806) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433491)

I want to see the first person selling Anti-Virus for a refridgerator or reciever.

I would be happy with antibacteria for the fridge. I'd never have to worry about those "mystery" packages ever again.

Slackjawed Marketers... (1)

Read Icculus (606527) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433406)

Picture slackjawed marketers and capitalist techno-theives everywhere with looks of utter bliss drooling and murmuring "convergence..." as they picture the obscene profits yet to come when your toaster is loaded with embedded Longhorn so that you can listen to mp3s on it aquired wirelessly from your refrigerator/render-farm.

Think Infinite Jest.

Re:Slackjawed Marketers... (2, Funny)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433450)

your refrigerator/render-farm.

Maybe now we can keep those AMD chips cool.

Re:Slackjawed Marketers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9433602)

Think Infinite Jest.

You have a math error. You meant: (1/Infinite) jest.

I'll take one of those. (1)

Daggeron (462369) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433407)

What are those you say? Well those are the latest and greatest thing. What is that thing? Well anything you want it to be. It slices, it dices, it makes julien fries while showing you the matrix reloaded and sorting your CRM database. /runs and hides.

FOOLS! (5, Funny)

Griim (8798) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433408)

Doesn't anyone remember what happened last time when the Cylons attacked, and all of our computer systems were linked together?

Big Bang of Convergence eh? (1)

schild (713993) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433409)

That's funny, because like, just 2 days ago I could've sworn that there was an article about the death of PDA's.

I can't wait for my refrigerator to have a toaster, speakerphone, tv, and real doll embedded in the doors.

Who pays these people to make blanket statements like this. What do I have to do to get a job like that? I can get a Harvard Diploma online for $10, kk?

Call me old fashioned if you want, but... (3, Insightful)

the_rajah (749499) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433414)

If I want a phone, I just want a phone that is reliable and easy to use. Not loaded with so many gadgets that I have trouble using it for the intended main function.

We just put a replacement radio in my wife's car, a '93, and instead of knobs and a few large buttons there are these tiny little buttons that I can't read the labels for without a magnifying glass. WTF is that? Certainly, it's far from user friendly. So instead of just reaching over to change the station, or even to turn the danged thing off, by simply turning a reasonable size knob, I have to keep punching tiny buttons until it does what I want. Yeah, I eventually am learning which is which, but that's not my point. And you think talking on a cell phone is distracting... HA!

IMHO too much convergence is likely to be too much of a possible good thing.

Make a product that does its intended main function and does it well.
If I want the best knife or the best scissors, I don't get a Swiss Army knife.

"Do the Right Thing. It will gratify some people and astound the rest." - Mark Twain

Re:Call me old fashioned if you want, but... (1)

Mz6 (741941) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433530)

Alot of those car stereos are starting to come with remotes to control everyhting now. Having worked in the business for quite some time I have seen the progression from the small buttons, then to a few offering remotes to almost all offering remotes. The latest craze? Your in-dash stereo has built in touchscreen features to control volume, your menu and other controls and even some that offer full motion video. It should only be a matter of time before your cell phone gets activated with it, no matter of service provider and it's all hands free.

Re:Call me old fashioned if you want, but... (3, Insightful)

Moofie (22272) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433549)

Make a product that does its intended main function and does it well.

If I want the best knife or the best scissors, I don't get a Swiss Army knife.
When I want a good enough knife or a good enough pair of scissors or a decent screwdriver or a not bad pair of pliers and I'm far from my toolbox, I pull out my Leatherman Wave.

There are well designed multi-function devices and poorly designed multi-function devices. That doesn't mean the entire concept is silly. (Or smart.)

Re:Call me old fashioned if you want, but... (1)

Krafty Koder (697396) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433550)

"We just put a replacement radio in my wife's car, a '93, and instead of knobs and a few large buttons there are these tiny little buttons that I can't read the labels for without a magnifying glass. WTF is that?"

wow - somebody else is annoying by the death of twiddly knobs on car radios. that's my major gripe and it annoys the hell out of me - in the past i could turn a dial. dead easy whilst driving.

now i'm feeling around for tiny buttons (cos my eyes are always on the road) - so while i meant to change a station, i end up turning the bass up to +12.

AAARGH!!!!

bring back the dial on car radios!!!!

That's just a design issue. (1)

nutznboltz (473437) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433622)

Get them to read this [google.com]

Universal Cell phone/TV/Computer? (2, Insightful)

SpaceCadetTrav (641261) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433417)

Sometimes you people need to unplug.

i believe it (2, Insightful)

surreal-maitland (711954) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433420)

everybody these days wants a cell phone - fax machine - dot matrix printer that will make them a frappachino (sp?). sure, there are people who recognize that having a single point of failure sucks. (oh, no, your battery died. no more frappachino or cell phone or dot matrix printing until you can plug the sucker back in.) but there are a lot more who don't want to carry the fax, the cell phone, and the frappachino-maker.

this won't go corporate, because enough people at major companies will realize the whole single point of failure thing, and that they'll lose a lot of money waiting for workers' supermegagadget to come back from the shop, but i definitely think there's a market for small devices that do everything.

Re:i believe it (1)

mrmaster (535266) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433567)

Isn't a computer you buy at a BestBuy a single point of failure? Usually when 1 thing breaks you have to replace the whole box. Everything is on the motherboard with no upgrade path except to buy a whole new one.

Still waiting for some other things to converge (1)

stinkyfingers (588428) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433423)

I need to buy a new cell phone to switch providers.

Even though basic cable boxes are similar around the country, I can't buy one are the Best Buy down the road.

I have 4 remotes sitting on my table at home. All of them "universal" that came with separate components. Unfortunately, the only universal part is turning off/switching the station. I can't run my DVD with my TV remote. Oh, and I bought a third party universal remote. Didn't work.

Start with those 3 simple things.

As long as... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9433426)

my computer doesn't blow up. Hey, does this mean the pr0n on my TV and my computer will converge? Okay, I guess I'm okay with my computer blowing up...

Bang! 20 dollars, please. (2, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433427)

I imagine that this "big bang" will conclude with the controlling company(ies) charging money for practically every type of content, since they'll have a service and device for everything.

This has been predicted for a long time (1)

spidergoat2 (715962) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433428)

Everybody wants the Dick Tracy wristwatch that does everything. And as we know, the technology to link all these wonderful services exists now. The problem is licensing. No company wants to give up their piece of the pie, or surrender their turf to another company when there's money to be made. Stockholders wouldn't stand for it. Unles one firm can muscle the others into giving up their license, or reducing their fee, it won't happen.....Microsoft?....Anyone?

Synapse? (4, Funny)

SphericalCrusher (739397) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433430)

It's already been created! Just go download the source code from skullbocks.com!

No, thanks (4, Funny)

Rick the Red (307103) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433433)

I don't need my refridgerator telling me that I need milk -- I can see for myself when I use the milk. And the last thing I need is my refridgerator telling Safeway.com that I need milk and scheduling a delivery when I'm on vacation.

My VCR watches TV for me when I'm not there, my oven can cook dinner for me when I'm not there, and my checking account can pay bills automatically if I'm not there. With all this convergence, will my possessions need me anymore?

Re:No, thanks (1)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433546)

With all this convergence, will my possessions need me anymore?

...best quote of the day

Re:No, thanks (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433616)

As long as there's more to your life than watching TV, cooking dinner, and paying bills, I'd say your life will still have meaning.

I'd say if there's not more to your life than those three things, it's not meaningful to begin with.

I am not defined by my ability to accomplish tasks.

Too 'low-tech' (4, Interesting)

rixstep (611236) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433440)

Sure, your fridge will tell you you need milk

This is way too low-tech.

What your fridge should tell you is:

'Hey dude, I know you're thinking of buying milk today, but I just read an article online about a bad shipment of milk to stores in this area, so I'd hold off a day or two until there's more details. I'll tell you when it's safe again, OK?

'Oh - and of course I tested the milk you still have inside me, and that's OK to drink. Just don't buy any more until I say so.'

THAT is hi-tech. That is convergence.

Re:Too 'low-tech' (1)

spidergoat2 (715962) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433542)

You're right. And one further step would be if the fridge said, "You're way too fat now, bud. Have you considered switching to skim milk, or perhaps a soy product?". Even better, "You'll gain 1.6 pounds if you eat the ice cream in the freezer. Check out the apples over on the counter."

Re:Too 'low-tech' (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433571)

Will your fridge have a flesh-like ass converged onto the front of it so that I can kick it when it tells me what I can or can't buy? Well, maybe when we get the "semantic web" stuff like that will work as expected.

To add on... (1)

Mz6 (741941) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433592)

When the shipments become safe, it should make an order for some more and have it delivered when I get home. Oh.. and it should also make sure to order more milk as it checks against the sell before date.

Re:Too 'low-tech' (4, Insightful)

rewt66 (738525) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433626)

Right. The real problem is thinking up things for these "converging" devices to do that customers actually care about in the real world.

And that's hard. It's a lot harder than creating a new buzzword. It's even harder than building a product that connects to other products.

Hooking up fridges and appliances will inevidably (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9433453)

... lead to evil developments like the "distributed denial of breakfast" attack. Be afraid ... be very afraid.

I really don't see the need.... (2)

carrett (671802) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433455)

Let's take a smaller scale example: in Unixy atmospheres everything is modular and develops independently. With Windows, it seems to me at least, that there is a much bigger emphasis on having all the componenets of the OS work together. You tell me which one is better... I guess it would be nice to have this "convergance," but, I think that there are risks and also there is plenty of work to be done on the individual parts we are "converging" before we start trying to mesh them together.

Sorry, but I say overrated. (2, Insightful)

ThousandStars (556222) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433457)

I've been reading about "convergence" for as long as I've been cognizant of computers, and I don't buy it. Promises of mythical devices to link all aspects of digital life end up empty. Aside from the technological problems of making these devices work together, I think there is a bigger problem in that specialized devices for specific applications generally work better than a generalized device.

For example, I prefer using a desktop for real work like long sessions of typing or video editing. The larger screen real estate, better price and more power mean that I'm better off with a desktop; and I think most people feel that way. Likewise, I don't want to use that monitor as a TV because it's too small; the hard drive in that computer is too small to store uncompressed DVDs, which are better left on desk to be played in the large-screen TV upstairs. I want a portable device to play music, and the key factor for that device is size, followed closely by battery life and ease-of-use -- and such a device, so useful for music, would be worthless for movies.

My point is that convergence isn't here today, and I doubt it will be in the near future. The hurdles may eventually be overcome, but I suspect convergence might be like flying cars or cheap, easy nuclear power: perpetually five or ten years down the line.

Great... now my toaster will spam me too (3, Funny)

HighOrbit (631451) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433498)

"Your Bagle is ready. Would you like to see an add about Philly Cream Cheese?"

They've discovered the magic of the microprocessor (2, Interesting)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433511)

A microprocessor is general enough to perform a variety of operations. It provides this functionality by providing a flexible set of basic operations called it's instruction set.

Given such a generalized processor, we do away with the need to manufacture dedicated electronic hardware - and provide the functionality in specialized software which instructs the general-purpose microprocessor to perform a specific task. This is cheaper since software is easily reproduced/copied at a minimal cost.

A capable generic microprocessor can perform the functions of most electronic devices (calculations, DSP, gaming device, prototyping etc) as long as software/peripherals is available for it. No wonder then that we're seeing electronic companies jumping on the idea of writing firm/software for generic microprocessors in an effort to expand their range of products at reduce costs.

I predict that in a few years, we will have a single cheap generic microprocessor which will be found in most (or all) consumer electronic devices. Electronic companies will be largely reduced to software companies dedicated to writing software instead.

Yes, but... (3, Insightful)

shogarth (668598) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433512)

...most users still can't program a digital clock without help and most techs can't develop an interface that my grandmother can use. Until these two factors converge, high tech toys are going to remain the Playthings of Geekdom.

Beowulf cluser of playback devices? (3, Insightful)

Flashpot (773365) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433513)

It seems to me this "convergence" thing is about making every *smart* piece of equipment a playback machine for some *drm controlled* content.

Thanks but no thanks.

Having one home display device makes sense. (5, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433523)

Having one home sound reproduction device makes sense.

It saves complication and cost. It's just good engineering to simplify the system by reducing redundency to the optimum (not necessarily the minimum).

Having your toaster call up a website to find out how far up it should turn the rheostat, phone your mom to let her know you're actually eating a good breakfast, tell you the next chess move in that game with your buddy and then starting your car does not reduce complication and cost.

It is a poor solution.

There's nothing wrong with convergence, so long as the convergence makes inherent sense.

KFG

Just imagine a date coming into your place... (3, Funny)

sexylicious (679192) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433526)

You turn on the TV to watch a movie...
"Problems down there? TRY CIALIS!"
Or you go to the kitchen to get something to drink...
"We've got the largest selection of dolls!"

Like I'd want any of my appliances trying to sell me penis enlargement pills.

Troll (1)

Tranzig (786710) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433533)

I don't believe this convergence. What's the point of making a device that works as a tv and a cellular phone? I wouldn't like to carry a 50 inch large mobile everywhere, and I can't imagine a family sitting around a cellular phone and watching soap operas on the 3 inch display of it. This is nonsense. Having a mobile capable of playing films can be nice, but don't tell me that these universal devices will rule the world and render every one function device useless. Swiss knives are lame.

Re:Troll (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433638)

Would you replace your 50" TV with a mobile phone, or use your mobile phone's TV to watch something when you're far away and remote?

You don't have to limit yourself to one television. Hey, some of us have difficult limiting ourselves to one mobile phone :)

Bring Back Teledildonics! (1)

meehawl (73285) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433534)

Yawn. These convergence hype stories were more fun back in the 1990s when people were talking about the convergence of tech and sex. Teledildonics [wikipedia.org] stories were always good for a laugh. This stuff is just plain dull.

The most successful convergence device in recent history remains the clock-radio.

Convergence? Yes!! (2, Funny)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433537)

Then we can all be individuals in the same way!

Apple (2, Insightful)

BortQ (468164) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433560)

Apple really did a great job with their new Airport Express. It isn't what you would normally think of as 'convergence', but it accomplishes exactly what users want. Existing computer and stereo working together without a big hassle.

Sounds like a Ray Bradbury story (1)

ishmalius (153450) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433600)

Remember the one where he gets fed up with technology, and murders his house?

Fridge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9433601)

Let my fridge run out and get the milk after it determines I need it.

Darwin Says (1)

cynic10508 (785816) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433603)

It's true in the sense that every possible angle of convergence is going to be covered. Watch for a feeding frenzy of new technology. Then watch again as the truly useless technologies are abandoned by users and go the way of the dodo.

With all this Convergence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9433608)

I'm worried that the entire Internet will collapse into a black hole and destroy us all.

Downside of convergence (2, Insightful)

Ra5pu7in (603513) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433621)

The biggest problem to come of convergence is the inability to get just what you need and want. I may only want a cell phone that can make phone calls - not a mini PDA / game machine. With the current rush, some manufacturers and developers are forgetting to leave the basic product available.

Another problem is that a converged product may make you sacrifice performance in one area for performance in another. For example (made up, of course) a monitor/television/CD/DVD player combination might have the best visual clarity, but be so-so at reading DVDs and skip a lot -- while a competing product might play DVDs flawlessly, but max out at 800x680 resolution. The more converged products become, the less choice we consumers have to maximize the quality and/or minimize our cost.

What next? (1)

peterdaly (123554) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433623)

Who knows. Maybe someday we'll need anti-virus software for our cell-phones. Oh wait...

Useful combinations (1)

natoochtoniket (763630) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433631)

AS I understand it, the notion of convergence is that multiple technologies or capabilities will be present on one device. If they interact to do something useful, then the converged device could be more useful than the two separate devices. But, so far, most of the ideas for interaction strike me as being less than useful. I don't need or want a toaster that surfs the web, or any other such nonsense.

Give me clocks that set themselves to the correct time. That would be useful. Then I wouldn't mind that my toaster also includes a clock.

Give me a dishwasher that clears the table, actually washes the dishes, and then puts them away in the cabinets. That would really be useful.

I can't wait... (1)

jwcorder (776512) | more than 10 years ago | (#9433642)

Soon my toilet will be able to tell me when I am done with my dump and if I wiped my ass good enough.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?