exercises in compound storytelling

Friday, September 5, 2008

more on convergent devices

Every time I think about this I get stuck in a rut for two or three days thinking about it. The underlying problem is that the average person does not want to walk around with a Batman-style utility belt to carry all his gadgets, so it's really hard to get someone to adopt a second device (after the cell phone, which is so revolutionary it changes our perceptions of what constitutes a suspenseful story line).

As a first cut, here are the devices I currently use but would like to combine:
  • BlackBerry Curve (phone, email, web browser, text messages, camera)
  • Digital camera (8Gb card, reasonable zoom, etc.)
  • GPS (Garmin eTrex, no Bluetooth or USB port)
  • iPod (60Gb)
  • iPod (8Gb)
  • Garmin Forerunner 301 (GPS, stopwatch, heart monitor)
  • Nintendo DS (only stylus device in the bunch, soon to include the Korg DS-10)
I think what I really want is a device like the Curve but with real storage (100Gb to 250Gb) and a real camera, with battery life something like what I get for the Curve on standby: three to four days between charges, which should happen via a USB port. I want a real GPS, one that locks on like the Forerunner and will do real track and waypoint transport to and from the browser and other applications. I want dual screens, at least one of them stylus-sensitive, like the DS; I want to be able to manage files and controls via the sensitive one, again, like the DS. I don't want any cartridge ports.

I realize that most people think "driving directions" when they hear "GPS." I use Google Maps for that; I'm a geocacher, so my requirements are a little different. I want to run Google Earth with a "you are here" pointer and be able to pick layers with a stylus.

I don't necessarily need to hold this thing up against my head; I don't mind using a headphone jack when using it like a phone, but I'm not thrilled with the Curve's stereo headset; I like to be able to pick up ambient sound via my open ear while I'm on the phone in the car: a stereo headset is too immersive, and using it with just one earpiece is clumsy.

And that's just for starters; beyond that I really want a Gordon Bell data acquisition application with decent search on the fly. And I really want a health monitor that will read my vital signs on the fly and monitor my temperature, pulse, blood composition, etc. I want this device to be touch-sensitive all over. And it should be rugged and waterproof.


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