Digital devices are evolving to consolidate our needs to as few screens as possible. Should we be aspiring towards an all-in-one device or are some things best kept separate? The future of digital devices looks very bright. With consumer demand pushing massive and well-funded companies into war with one another for our dollars, we are bound to be presented with some incredible options in the future. But the form these devices will take is far from decided. Are we moving towards a world where we'll depend on one device for our communication, entertainment and miscellaneous needs, or are we accelerating towards a future of many devices doing individual tasks?
One Device To Rule Them All
Manufactures are increasingly interested in developing a single device that everyone simply has to have, like the iPhone. Just recently Microsoft redeployed the Xbox One without Kinect, hard drive integration and an expanded Xbox Live platform to try to convince gamers to incorporate all of their computing and entertainment needs through the Xbox One. This has enjoyed a debatable level of success, but Microsoft's intention was clear: Consolidation. Take a look at the way tablets are vying for access to television and content networks, with platforms like Hulu Plus and Netflix. If users can read and respond to their email, handle their calendar tasks and watch television on one device, there is a greater chance they will become loyal to that device. At least, that's the hope. Of course, there are real benefits to consolidating functions into fewer devices, but that not the only option.
Twice is Nice
On the other hand, there's been a surge in popularity of personal and fitness devices on the market. From the Fitbit to the Nike FuelBand, there is a huge rise in small, personal computing devices that depend on another device — typically a smartphone — to provide an enhanced user experience. When you have two computing devices that can spend their computing power on a dedicated task instead of multiple tasks, the combined power of those dual devices can provide a more enhanced experience for the user. The FuelBand won't keep track of your calendar, but you have probably never had a calendar that knew the kind and amount of exercise you were doing. Both are important to track and useful to know in real-time. It makes sense that manufacturers want to strive for one device that everyone simply "must-have." A single market-dominating is an the white whale of tech manufacturing, but it may not be in line with consumer expectations. Consumers are increasingly sophisticated about what they want from their devices, which makes a one-size-fits-all approach remarkably difficult. On the other hand, it's unclear how much patience consumers will have with buying an array of devices instead of the simpler option of owning one. The only way to tell for sure is to wait and see.Photo Credit: PICTAO via Flickr.