Is convergence the future?
Last year, Canonical announced an IndieGogo campaign to develop a new smartphone that runs Ubuntu - the Ubuntu Edge. Since then the campaign did not meet its required target and so the phone will not be produced - but it made me think... Because the operating is developed from one code base, the new phone would have not only been able to do the stuff that a standard phone can do - but if you plug a monitor and keyboard into it, the phone would run the full desktop operating system! This is an awesome idea in my opinion, or is it?
Once upon a time people would carry a mobile phone to make calls, a laptop for working on, a camera for taking pictures, a satellite navigation device for route information, an iPod for music, a watch to tell the time, a calculator for sums... you get the idea. This was rubbish on many levels, as people would have to carry all these devices with them in order to get stuff done.
With the advent of the smartphone however, a lot of these tasks were immediately taken care of on one device, and when Google entered the fray with their Android operating system they ticked another couple off the list. Nowadays, you really only need a smartphone and a laptop to do everything above, and with the announcement from Canonical, they are hoping to replace the laptop too.
But is this a good idea?
The techno-geek side of me thinks that this is an amazing step towards a future where I can simply carry one device with me that meets all my technological needs, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how things pan out over the next year or so when other companies start thinking along similar lines. But there's a nagging part of me that thinks that convergence, to this level at least, might not be such a great thing...
I carry my smartphone with me wherever I go, and in that respect its great for the occasional photo, listening to music etc. I don't carry my laptop with me everywhere I go, partly because its big and heavy, but also because it stores all my work and private files upon it - stuff I don't want to lose or get stolen.
I've dropped my phone a lot, fallen into mud with it, got drunk and almost lost it. If my phone were to house all of my work programs, account files, pictures of my daughters and the like, I'm not so sure that this would be a risk worth taking. I would probably end up leaving it at home, and taking out whatever device I needed in its place. In short I would treat it like I do with my laptop at the moment, and where would that leave us? Back at square one, with people taking multiple devices with them for multiple jobs...
Just a thought.