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July 2005


Brian O'Neill

I agree to a point. I have a smartphone and love it. I access all my email surf the web etc.

Within 2 years these devices will have good quality cameras and increased storage space, making them more than viable as integrated devices.

The simple reason smartphones will succeed is that I never go ANYWHERE without my cell phone, but I will happily leave my mp3 plater and digital camera on the shelf.

I was blogging on how I see mobiles panning out:

I think Microsoft will do very well with smartphone, in the UK smartphones are really popular.


Jason Carruthers


There are lenses that automatically change from clear to dark when you go outside (Transitions).

There are clip-on sunglasses that fit over your eyeglasses (EasyClip).

Each of those has its problems. Transitions don't darken in the car, which is when most people need sunglasses. Clip-ons add weight and glare, and are usually too small to block out enough light.

In my shop, and in the whole industry, the vast majority of customers get separate eyeglasses and sunglasses.

When people ask about combination products, we tell them it's like having a sofa bed. Convenient, but you will have to sleep in the living room or sit in the bedroom. It's always better to have a separate sofa and bed.


My PDA has a digital camera which can make videos or stills, a voice recorder, microsoft word and a host of other features. But when I want to take pictures I still use a digital camera (though I might add that it has not replaced my film camera), when I want to record stuff I still use my microcassette recorder and when I want to make or read word documents I use my computer. The law of divergence has definitely held true in my case.

On the other hand, my PDA and cell phone have seamlessly converged into one device, as has my daily planner and my mp3 player. So convergence is indeed possible, though it would be foolish to think that on any grand scale all of those individual things will be replaced by the super PDA. I'm still waiting on the successful convergence of sunglasses and daily prescription eyeglasses, but I've just accepted that it's never gonna happen.

Coleman Hutchins

I like your article, but isn't Microsoft's operating system just one big convergence machine?

Mary Schmidt

We only have to look at nature to understand this - evolution itself is divergence.

Why do big players keep touting "convergence"? A. It sounds sexy and visionary. B. They can make a lot of (short-term) $ on things like mergers and acquisitions. Now, if us darned customers just didn't have minds of our own!

Jeff Halmos

Completely on board on this (2nd law of thermo, entropy, and all that). What I'm wondering though, is while nothing will ever converge to the point of totally replacing those things converging, what is going on with, for example, the iPod and it's recent dropping of the "Photo" part (a good move), and rolling it into all iPods? To me it seems we need a new word for moments like this when convergence happens, and happens well (i.e. the newer iPod with it's photo capabilities and color screen) but that will never replace the things it's converging. Afterall, true convergence is about obsolescing the converged. But then, while Apple could be seen to simply be making use of the color screen (the implimentation is slick as hell when it comes to using the photo features), I'm guessing that it's akin to brand extension. So, how might the laws of divergence deal with this? Is it law then that the photo component of the newer iPods will kill the iPod eventually? Or do we need to adjust the laws a bit when good industrial and interface design come together? Is it as simple and perfect that as soon as you add to something, even when it comes to the ever-expanding digital realm, that it instantly begins it's decent into obsolecence?


Couldn't agree more Laura with your views on divergence! I remember a couple of years ago here in Taiwan when Acer were working hard to flog those new tablet PCs. Total flop, and now we have another Taiwan company, Tatung, trying to do the same thing.

These guys should read your books!

Jason Carruthers

The existence of divergence seems so obviously true to a regular guy like me that it's hard to understand why people much smarter than me don't believe what you and Al are saying.

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