The Shape of Things To Be

With the frequent launch of consumer electronic devices hopped up on Android, I question if it is really smart to make all our devices “smart”? Or to seek a different perspective to the same question, is it really smart to make all our devices “smart” separately? Can’t we somehow unify the smartness of all our devices?

Samsung is aiming to grab the point and shoot market with an android powered digital camera. The only novelty it adds is an ease of connectivity for sharing/uploading your pics, which in all fairness is nothing new. But, a manufacturing giant like Samsung can potentially stream-roll the competition by selling these at throw away prices. Or consider the trend of Android-ment of televisions, be it an embedded system or a companion device that converts your legacy tube to a savvy system that can be used to surf the internet or stream content to or from a cloud based service. The consumption and distribution of digital content is forcing manufacturers to introduce “smartness” to traditionally dumb consumption devices.

So is this how the future looks? A myriad of smart and connected devices, each with a customized processor and UI? Or does it look a little smarter and more efficient? If Asus’s futuristic [but horrendously named] attempt is considered rationally, it looks like a nice place to start. The PadFone by Asus utilizes the power of a single device to motor three form factors on the go, a phone, a tablet and a netbook.

If you take the concept and extrapolate it, the future looks handy, literally. A single device [I call it a “smart core”] could be used to power not just different form factors to suit your current needs but also entirely different genres of devices, like your camera or your tv. The firmware of the device can be designed to perform the task the device is meant for but the processing power, memory, connectivity and UI needs can be fulfilled by a powerful smart phone in its core. As an example, you could use your phone’s camera for day to day pictures, but for a wedding or on a holiday you could simply slip it into a shell that helps it take better pictures [not entirely futuristic¬†any more].

Moreover, with advances in wireless technology you may not even have to physically connect it for few applications, like for managing your TV. And far ahead lies the state of pure digital nirvana, the world where all the connectors and devices are standard and non-proprietary which essentially means the user gets to hook any “smart core” to any device seamlessly. Thereby eliminating the dependence of one device on any specific smart core, and hence increasing the multiplicity of its use, even by other members of a family.

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