Evolving 3G wireless communications devices, such as the Amazon Kindle, are examples of mobile convergence–books, text-to-speech and connected devices merging together.
Technology Advances and the Consumer Experience
Only recently have mobile phones, running on 3G wireless networks, delivered a satisfying mobile Internet browsing experience and access to e-books and mobile applications.
The iPhone, introduced in 2007, re-defined the mobile phone as a multi-function device–phone, web browser and application launcher. Yet even the iPhone has its weaknesses. Competitors like Palm and Google’s Android operating system have introduced smartphones and other 3G wireless communications devices that rival the iPhone.
Although mobile convergence continues expanding, market share of smartphones and mobile phones is minuscule compared to other portable electronics, such as digital cameras, HD TV’s, radios, online gaming, personal navigation, digital photo frames, blue-ray players, e-readers and mp3 players.
While it’s true that many smartphones today have integrated cameras, music players, higher resolution screens and the like, most smartphones features, like cameras, are inferior compared to the multimedia quality of standalone consumer electronic products.
3G Wireless Communications Convergence Expanding
One to five megapixel camera quality on mobile phones, for example, pales when compared to standalone digital cameras. A phone’s MP3 player, listened to with ear buds, doesn’t approach the quality of a home audio system. And we won’t even talk about the superiority of HD-TV.
Product reviewers in print and online publications drool over anything labeled “mobile” because they know it sells magazines and increases online traffic. Yet, the media forget the tens of billions of other consumer electronics products that inform and entertain the vast majority of people.
Mobile phone and other consumer electronics companies continue adding features, despite the fact that the average consumer uses only 20% of a device’s functionality.
The Kindle: Only an E-Reader?
The Kindle II is an e-reader offering 3G wireless communications uses a Sprint 3G connection, opening the door to further development of this promising device. Its synchronization with personal computers provides connectivity through its synchronization emjamce its 3G wireless communications capability.
The Kindle II sports a keyboard to find device content, search history, bookmarks and personal note insertion into e-books, magazines, newspapers and blogs.
Although listed as “experimental” on the Kindle II, you’ll also find an mp3 player, understandable text-to-speech and basic Web access with search, connecting you automatically to Google, Wikipedia and the Web.
The Kindle II’s screen size is around 5 inches by 3.5 inches. Its e-paper, easier on the eyes than any mobile phone screen, displays readable text and extends battery life. Pictures and graphics vary from acceptable to unreadable.
In a 3G–soon to be 4G–world, I wonder if wireless communication devices, like the Kindle are only E-readers. Could they do more? Could they even replace a mobile phone?
What if you could…in one 3G wireless communications device…
- Have smartphone and e-reader features?
- Make and receive phone calls via Skype or Google Voice?
- Load and run numerous applications?
- Text using a large QWERTY keyboard?
- Send and receive email?
- Play music?
- Process credit card transactions?
- Keep a grocery list?
- Replace your smartphone
Last point. The eternal question: will the Kindle replace “physical” books. I’ll leave that one to David Pogue of the New York Times.