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Consumers want converged devices with an eye on usability

Today's converged smart devices are able to take the place of a mobile phone, a computer, a GPS device, a digital camera, and a camcorder for many users.

InformationWeek reports that about 40% of consumers in the U.S. plan to make a mobile device purchase in the next three months. That large number of consumers is looking for a single, converged, device to fill a wide variety of needs.

According to the survey conducted by Data Development Worldwide, the gadgets at the top of the consumers' want lists are in order:  smartphones, ultra-light notebooks, full-size laptops, GPS devices, and netbook computers. The desire for a converged device opens a big market for companies reports InformationWeek.

The problem is that many companies are looking to move into new markets and they may be doing so without knowing the market well. One example cited by InformationWeek is Nokia. The company knows how to compete in the smartphone market, but if it moves into the netbook market it will be competing with HP, Acer, Lenovo, Dell and all the other well established computer makers.

Chip Lister from Data Development Worldwide said, "Growth strategies often do not take into account consumers making tradeoffs across different device categories. It is essential that marketers ensure they have data that can identify which products and brands are potential substitutes rather than set up a design around preconceptions of how the market is structured."

The big caveat for consumers according to the survey who are shopping for converged devices is that the device is expected to have a good user interface and good implementation. The iPhone 3G S is one of the converged devices that is cited as an example of a good converged product.

Lister continued saying, "Just because technology makes a capability possible doesn't mean the consumers will value it. The device with the right mix of capabilities delivered at the right price point is going to win in this market."





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I agree
By lwright84 on 7/14/2009 11:20:34 AM , Rating: 2
This is a big reason why I'm a staunch iPhone user and PS3 gamer. The functionality from both of those products is unparalleled in today's market and priced extremely competitively. Even at double the price they'd still be worth every penny. I also think this buying trend as been a trend for quite awhile, and manufacturers are starting to cater to it more and more.. which is great!




RE: I agree
By Lakku on 7/14/2009 11:53:31 AM , Rating: 2
Remove the PS3's Blu-Ray drive... and you have something that doesn't do any one thing better than the competition. I'm not sure it is a good example of a converged device anymore, seeing as how blu-ray players have dropped in price. If Sony still had it's large lead in exclusives and developer support it had with the PS2, I'd be more inclined to agree, but both Microsoft and Nintendo have a lot more support this generation, and are the target platforms for the majority of games. Since that is the PS3's main purpose, like a cell phone is to make calls/text message, then I can't say it's unparalleled by any means, since it's not even the best in it's field, so to speak.


RE: I agree
By lwright84 on 7/14/2009 12:23:21 PM , Rating: 3
Interesting considering it has the best hardware, the most exclusive developers and games (albeit no Halo which is a real thorn), free online network and store, DLNA integration, media sharing, media streaming, superior upscaling capabilities, and various other features outside of it's Blu-Ray drive. Not only that but the Blu-Ray drive\laser is reference quality and a superior product in itself - as is the console it's built in.

I'd say it's a perfect example of a superior converged product that provides the most value for your money.


RE: I agree
By wempa on 7/14/2009 12:44:27 PM , Rating: 5
While the PS3 gives you a heck of a lot for the money, those bells and whistles need to be valued by the consumer for them to justify spending the money. For example, if a buyer has no interest in Blu-Ray or a wireless network connection, then all those features are doing is raising the price of the console.


RE: I agree
By omnicronx on 7/14/2009 1:13:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
While the PS3 gives you a heck of a lot for the money, those bells and whistles need to be valued by the consumer for them to justify spending the money.
Exactly, its not worth the bells and whistles if you are not going to use them. This is why the 200 dollar 360 has sold so well, especially with the younger crowd. I've noticed that parents are willing to buy the console and upgrade later if needed rather than paying the big price upfront.


RE: I agree
By omnicronx on 7/14/2009 1:08:17 PM , Rating: 2
As much as I like my PS3, you are obviously being bias here. Xbox live is better than the PS3 online network period! There is really no debating this. Media sharing is no better, media streaming is slightly better, but hardly a reason to pick one console over the other, especially with the transcoding software out there these days.(which I personally have to use over a wireless network on my PS3 anyways with many of my high bitrate movies). Personally I find that scaling sucks for both the PS3 and 360, so its not exactly something to praise about, even if it is slightly better. My 50 dollar upconverting DVD player from walmart does a better job. I will say that the BD drive pushed me to buy a PS3, in fact I did not even use it for games until recently.

I would also like to point out that if you are really talking about a do it all machine, the 360 with the right setup is far more ideal. I used it as an extender for a number of years before it died, and nothing the PS3 has aside from superior video codec support comes even close to matching this.

Back to the original topic, is this not pretty much obvious? I've been looking for a device to listen to music, make phone calls and search the web for years. The only thing really holding this back is battery life, with current tech its just not feasible to use your phone as an MP3 player for a long period of time without having to recharge by lunch.


RE: I agree
By Hiawa23 on 7/14/2009 2:45:22 PM , Rating: 2
This is a big reason why I'm a staunch iPhone user and PS3 gamer.

I was with you on the Iphone, but the PS3, not sure I agree. I too own a PS3 360 & Wii, & if you take out the Blu ray drive, the 360 to me is a better gaming & online gaming device which is the only reason I would buy a console. Good point, though. I agree with the article as consumers want smaller, & want one or two devices that do multiple tasks, & by this definition, perhaps the PS3 does fit the bill as it's a nice videogame machine, a nice DVD Blu Ray player, & has a web browser.


Time to buy nokia shares?
By psonice on 7/14/2009 10:35:40 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
The problem is that many companies are looking to move into new markets and they may be doing so without knowing the market well. One example cited by InformationWeek is Nokia. The company knows how to compete in the smartphone market, but if it moves into the netbook market it will be competing with HP, Acer, Lenovo, Dell and all the other well established computer makers.


I remember many, many people saying this about apple when they introduced the iphone. Sometimes, being all fresh faced and not "knowing the market" seems to be a huge advantage.




RE: Time to buy nokia shares?
By nomagic on 7/14/2009 11:25:25 AM , Rating: 2
I would consider Nokia entering a new market if the "new" market is something like the automobile industry.

At least to me, there is not much difference between a netbook and a smartphone. They both have a screen, a speaker, a battery and some form of input. In other words, they are the exact same thing but in different form factors .


"Good Enough" && Throwaway Society
By psychobriggsy on 7/14/2009 11:09:23 AM , Rating: 2
These devices are "good enough" for most people, and they'll probably be replaced in 5 years. There's no culture of buying electronics to last, definitely not beyond 10 years in most cases. This is because the rate of improvement of electronics is so fast.

Why spend a lot getting the best today that might last 10 years (e.g., TV, BluRay player, digital camera, etc) when you can pay 1/4 for something that will last 5 years, then in 5 years time pay 1/4 again for something better than the best today and move the old device to the bedroom/snug/shed/parents?

Exclusions: Hi-Fi Separates. Any more?




By maven81 on 7/14/2009 11:25:55 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
There's no culture of buying electronics to last, definitely not beyond 10 years in most cases.


This is true, but it's not the problem. The problem is that when you try to cram things like that into mobile devices you settle for compromises. The cameras in phones are for the most part horrible, and the video quality is not very good either. Moreover squeezing that stuff into a device means you have less room for something like a bigger battery.
The same thing happened when people decided that mp3 was "good enough". It's an embrace of mediocrity, and it means that high end stuff like say SACD/DVD-Audio doesn't stand a chance in the marketplace. Sad really.


Stop trying to make Ginsu phones!
By Donovan on 7/14/2009 12:02:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Consumers want converged devices with an eye on usability
What they want is to not end up carrying three "cameras", two "phones", eight "computers", and five "GPS navigation devices" just to get one of each that has all the features they need. There'd be a lot more usability if every device didn't try to be all things to all people just to end up sucking in every role but the one it was intended for.

How many times must I buy "the only phone you'll ever need"?




By Gyres01 on 7/14/2009 12:34:08 PM , Rating: 2
Do most people even need all that Sh*t ?? Or is it just a impulse purchase or a brainwash from a salesperson or I need to be cool like Johnny cuz he has ( Blank ) phone....


By Hakuryu on 7/14/2009 2:34:52 PM , Rating: 2
As far as pictures and video go, I'd much rather use a digital camera or camcorder. Phones with these functions built in are okay, but far from the quality of a device designed specifically to do those functions.

For internet I don't understand the big deal of using it on a phone also. Tiny screens and keyboards are the biggest problems... I can surely wait til I'm home from work to check forums and email, and will be more productive having a large screen and keyboard to use.

Perhaps the biggest reason I don't look for a converged device is battery life though. Try and use all the featuers of a phone and be prepared to spend alot of time charging it.




Terminology?
By Starcub on 7/14/2009 5:00:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Today's converged smart devices are able to...


...meet in the trash can. Perhaps you meant to say "multi-functional" devices...




Apple's Next-Gen Mobile Device
By elgueroloco on 7/15/2009 8:28:39 AM , Rating: 2
Here is Apple's next-gen, converged mobile device. It will replace it's entire current line of mobile devices.

http://i585.photobucket.com/albums/ss291/elguerolo...




"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)
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