Saturday, May 14, 2011

5 Gadgets Gone in 5 Years? I don't think so - here's why.

An "article" written on Engadget claims that five gadgets around today will be gone in five years (more in a bit).  I put article in quotes because the whole thing reads like it was underwritten by one of the cell companies (link to article is at end of this post).

So, what are the five gadgets?  In-car/portable GPS units, CD/DVD media and drives, stand-alone wireless routers, netbooks, and e-readers complete the list.  In every case, high-speed delivery through cellular and/or service provider equipped devices will replace the aforementioned "gadgets."

Here is my take on this:

Portable GPS units - not going anywhere, even with the new signage the gov't is requiring.  How does new signage help me get from Prescott, AR, to Colorado Springs, CO? It won't.  Frankly, I love my portable GPS. Why? My car does not have in-dash GPS and not every car will have it in 5 years. I can lend my GPS to anyone, anywhere.  I can still talk on my phone while my portable GPS keeps humming along.  Not everyone wants to have a smart phone with gps.  The battery in my portable GPS lasts days LONGER than the battery in my Android-based phone ever dreamed about.

CD/DVD units/media - So, Speedtest.net says the avg American surfs at 11 Mbps?  They obviously did not take into account the folks in rural areas with ONLY dial-up (or worse, sat net).  I have "high speed" internet through DSL and my max rate is 1.5 Mbps.  That's right. Oh, sure, better than 56k dial-up that my neighbor (out of range for DSL) has, but still.... No *way* am I going to sit for 8-10 hours downloading applications, games, etc.  Oh, sure, I've done it.  I've messed with STEAM (see other steam-related posts on here), and it is a nightmare on my current DSL.  Aside from speed, though, I *want* the media.  Why should I pay $50 or $60 for software and NOT get media!? I'm already not happy that manuals have all but disappeared.  Why am I paying so much for 1's and 0's?? I don't think so.  We were told for generations (okay, for a generation) that the price was due to printing costs with manuals. Now what's the excuse?  Heck, even if the game were available at $14.95,  I still want MEDIA.  Nevermind that the operating system itself comes on media!  Oh, sure, you could boot from a USB drive, assuming your computer at the time can boot to USB.  Granted, in five years, I can see that. 

Stand-alone wireless routers - I will always buy stand-alone wireless routers. Why?  Because if I have to use the one "provided" by my carrier, then I have to pay (MONTHLY, no less) my carrier for it. Not happening if it is in my realm of possibilities.  I have my Wii, three laptops, a netbook, an ipad, and four ipods connected through my current wireless router.  It cost me $40.  Not per month.  $40 period.  Five years from now?  It will still cost $40. Sure, the speeds/distances will be higher, but the price point won't be.  Besides, what about small-medium businesses?  What about covering large areas - buildings, houses, etc.  Yeah, wifi routers aren't going anywhere.

Netbooks - Ah, yes, the netbooks. Weren't those already supposed to be dead?  Alas, they are alive and kicking. Why? Because you can still get one WITH a keyboard (gasp!) for less than the latest apple-powered mobile slate.  What about the speed? Um, netbooks are running dual-core processors, have more RAM and more storage. Oh, and they run flash. Oh, and they have (another gasp) USB ports. Oh, and built-in video out to projectors without a dongle.  Don't get me wrong: I love iPads and other slate tablets. But they have a place.  Heck, how many people drop $500 on the unit then another $70+ for a case with keyboard.  Heck, at that rate, you could have a laptop let alone a netbook.  Netbooks will become faster with even more storage over the next five years, not to mention offer up a myriad of other features as times change.

E-Readers - The death of Kindle? At $115 currently? I don't think so.  Not everyone wants to deal with the heavier, clunkier tablets. Some people (I know, yet another shocker) just want to... read.  I have long said that the iPad and other tablets are great at doing all kinds of things, but at a price - weight, cost, glare.  In five years?  E-Readers will have evolved, most likely breaking the $69.99 barrier for the entry-level model - which in five years will feature the bells and whistles of today's high-end models (and/or have features we don't even know about yet). 

No, I don't think any of these gadgets will be gone in five years.  They may not quite look the way they do today, but they will still be around.  In fact, whatever the iteration of "blogging" is five years from now, I'll re-visit this and see where we stand.

Link to referenced article:
http://gadgetbox.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/05/10/6611879-five-gadgets-that-will-be-dead-in-five-years

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