Friday, September 19, 2008

A convergence of thought streams...

Jan Chipchase - Future Perfect Little Switch / Big Switch

I check into Jan Chipchase’s excellent blog on a regular basis and this week he had a post on two themes I have been thinking & blogging about. The first being mentions of the phone as watch:
Every new feature that is added changes patterns of use which in turn changes what it means to be a ‘phone’. Is there a natural limit to convergence? And, staring out from the back seat of a fast moving consumer goods vehicle, are we there yet? Some of you are old enough to remember the humble wrist watch as your primary tool through which to know what time it is but today knowledge of the current time is a commodity - there are so many free and readily available alternative sources of this information. (Yes, wrist watches are still relevant but mostly as lifestyle statements).As with the wrist watch there was an era before the mobile phone as we know it and will be an era after.

His essay is an exploration of the deeper implications of the iPhone’s Airplane Mode and what it means to be disconnected. He goes on to explain in four paragraphs, four major trends that will affect the ability and choice to disconnect. Here are the entries (please read the entire essay for clarity on these ideas):
four trends will ensure the practice and willingness to disconnect evolves.

(1) The first is that there will be an increased willingness to carry secondary, tertiary, quaternary and even quinary+ communication focused devices.

(2) never equate ownership of a connected device with use of its primary function particularly when use of the primary function costs money.

(3) Advances in miniaturisation, materials and manufacturing techniques will enable radically new and highly focused form factors.

(4) Lastly, our understanding of what is required to make stuff more social will have matured to the point where it is, by most people’s perspective, reasonably social.

In time the design, language and social norms for connecting, dis-connecting and re-connecting will have reached the point where switch becomes the primary interface to our digital selves.

So, now I have logged the choice to disconnect as potentially non-conformist, as priviledge, as device driven, as miniaturization influenced, and as a future social norm. I think these ideas about disconnecting are of keen interest to me. I would be grateful for reference to other sources that discuss “disconnecting” from the mobile.

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