Before Declaring Device Convergence King, Consider Battery Life


It is not like I didn’t see this coming, but when Cisco announced its decision to shut down its recently-acquired Flip portable camera division (which actually wasn’t doing too badly, but was only experiencing slower growth than expected) yesterday, I couldn’t help feeling that it was somewhat premature. It was actually my healthy stock of Apple devices and iOS apps that led me to feel this way.

It appears as if the analyst are convinced that convergence is king, and smartphones are the future. Looking at Apple, it appears as if this trend is being realized as their once miraculous army of hundreds of millions of iPods has quickly transitioned into their now better equipped army of one-hundred million iPhones. With internet connectivity, GPS, camera, video, music and voice, it certainly is the very model of convergence. But the developer in me sees the very concrete issue of battery life becoming more of a concern with each and every feature being added into apps. Making every app in the App Store socially-connected and location-aware is making getting through the day without reaching for my external backup battery iPhone charger more and more difficult.

So while analysts continue to convince investors that standalone, single purpose consumer electronic devices are not the way to go, I can’t help but think that this will only add to the number of additional chargers I will need to carry around on my technology utility belt. If I will have to carry around an additional piece of tech anyway, why not have it serve a dedicated purpose? Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I still carry around my GPS Data Logger, iPod nano, Flip Video Camera, iPhone 4 and JustMobile Gum charger. Perhaps if Cisco made its Flip video camera a smartphone charger as well, it would have a place in this future dominated by convergence.

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