"The change from browser window to app is happening while other technologies are moving together. Commentators talk about “convergence” as the linking and combining of technologies. Information services converged with the combination of telecommunications systems, computer networks, and television broadcasting. Where once were separate devices and services there are now increasingly linked systems on the same device."
Consider what a smartphone can do, and the devices it replaces, and its value increases. A refurbished iPhone 3GS is currently on sale by AT&T for $19. With the least-expensive data and voice plans and a two-year contract, a customer would pay around $1,800 over 24 months, including taxes and fees.
But to do all the things a smartphone can do without buying one, that same consumer would need to buy the following:
A cellphone (at least $800 over 24 months: $20 for a device, plus $25 or more per month on a prepaid plan, plus taxes and fees).
A mobile e-mail reader ($430: the Peek 9, an e-mail reader, is $70; two years of service costs $360).
A music player (an iPod Nano is $149).
A point-and-shoot camera (around $200).
A camcorder (around $200).
A GPS unit (they start at $80).
A portable DVD player (they start at $60).
A voice recorder (around $40).
A watch (around $30).
A calculator (around $10).
Total cost: $1,999
In a smartphone, all those devices are reduced to software. They are a tap away, and new functions or services can be downloaded in seconds.
This is one of those articles where you may be tempted to read it, say “Oh that’s cool”, and move on.
Don’t do that.
This says a lot about how we use and view technology. It’s hard to find a place outside the mobile realm where we are comfortable with such a consolidation of technology. We don’t want a flashlight with a built-in clock. We don’t want a Chef’s Knife that can open cans. We still prefer separate boxes for our cable, DVDs, and stereo systems. But when it comes to mobile devices, we want everything included. This is important.
Some of the highlights for me were in having the teachers connect with me in the format of their choosing, responding to a question I posed in class. I had texts, emails, tweets and even a voice call (it was a fun moment) connecting my ‘students’ to the topic. Based on the feedback, it was an eye-opening experience for some in the room, a sense of ‘I can actually do this?’ I wish I would have had twice the amount of time to talk about this, as 75 minutes wasn’t nearly enough time to dive into the implications, processes and possibilities of what lies in student’s hands.
Here’s a link to the slidedeck, if you’re into that sort of thing. It’s a PDF. You’ve been warned.