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Gadgets of 2002 78

oo7tushar writes "CNN has this article on some of the new gadgets we can expect to see in 2002. We can expect smaller MP3 players, more powerful cell phones. The biggest barrier remains the cost of the multifunction gadgets (quote - But until consumers -- and not just gearheads -- show a liking to these technologies, and their prices become affordable, some companies are focusing on devices that serve one function well. ") We can also expect evolution rather than revolution. The article has much more info."
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Gadgets of 2002

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  • I like my bag phone just fine, thanks
  • by cowscows ( 103644 ) on Sunday December 23, 2001 @12:23PM (#2744276) Journal
    Revolutions, particularly ones that can happen in a span as narrow as a year, are rarely predictable. It seems like a silly claim to say that they will not happen. Evolution, of course, will continue.

    The whole article is pretty empty to me. The technologies that were big the past year will continue to get smaller and more powerful. Wow, I've never seen electronic devices go through that before.
    • I wouldn't say the article is empty, here's what I got out of it...

      • Consumers want simplisity, something that the 'do-it-all' (i.e., pda-mp3-cellphone and home-media-storage centers) failed to deliver.
      • Consumers want to be entertained.
      • Consumers want utility, they need a product that actually fills a need (like the guy who still likes his bag cell phone).

      I'd say we're in discovery mode... all sorts of things are possible, technically, and companies are just trying to hit upon the right combinations and forms that will fit the utlity or entertainment needs of consumer close enough that they will buy it.

      I'm still baffled that we don't have a simple device with a LCD that can be hooked to broadband and (with a subscription service) play every song ever recorded. I would pay money for that. The RIAA really has dropped the ball.

      • Reminds me of an old joke about double negatives:
        A linguistics professor was lecturing to his class one day. "In English," he said, "a double negative forms a positive. In some languages though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However," he pointed out, "there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative." A voice from the back of the room piped up, "Yeah. Right."
    • I don't know how these guys do it...the sources for this story are, again:

      • Giga Information Group
      • Gartner Dataquest
      • Gartner G2
      • Cahners In-Stat Group

      guys who get paid by the quote.

      and the whoring doesn't get as bad as "Consumers don't want to figure out hardware or software. They're so jaded by how hard it is to set up a computer that anything that smells like it scares them to death" - that one thanks to 'Rob Enderle'.

      I've got one, CNN, how about "consumers are looking forward to another year of being reamed by lawsuits and stupid laws bought by content providing corporations looking to keep their old business models and sue their way into other people's business"??

      or am I just cranky today?...

  • Segway? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cperciva ( 102828 ) on Sunday December 23, 2001 @12:25PM (#2744279) Homepage
    Does "gadget" mean something different in North America? There's nothing which screams "gadget" to me more than a Segway.
    • Consumers won't be able to buy the Segway this coming year, so I guess that doesn't make the otherwise bland article (besides, the last thing I want to hear any more about is that over-priced scooter for unbalanced people).
    • I generally think of a 'gadget' as something smaller than a 'bread box' (ie a phone, watch, mp3 player, computer periph, camera, things like that). Something that you buy at circuit city, best buy or radio shack, can carry out in a plastic bag and is either hand-portable or desktop/entertainment center stuff.

      Something large enough to ride on would probably be more of a 'toy'.

      I'm sure others will disagree with my distinctions, but this is what comes to mind.
    • No please no, not another scooter. People in our office use em all the freekin time, i mean, has mankind forgotten how to walk?
      • I agree for the most part. The promotion video I saw of a guy in a law office using it to move around and hand out papers gave me the same reaction. I mean, c'mon... god would it kill you to actually walk?

        Same with people out for a 'stroll' in the park. That just seems wrong. Get some exercise along with your fresh air and scenery, ferchrissakes. Last thing Americans need is eliminate the last few sources of physical activity that people still actually do.

        But, the one thing I saw that was interesting to me, was the applications like postal, delivery and warehouse workers.
        • His other inventions, the wheelchair that goes up stairs, now thats the direction on actually USEFUL devices that we should need more off. Devices that actually IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIVE for those that are in need.
          • You know, I was thinking the same thing after I posted my comment. This thing's novelty as a recreational vehicle seems negligible, but assistance for those with some difficulty getting around might be more useful.
  • If I were rich, I would by a lot of those cool thingies for sure (actually, I'd probably buy out, but as I am a poor student, I won't. Actually, I am quite happy with my good old RioPMP300 and as long as copyright issues and copy-protected CDs aren't an issue I won't be a new mp3 player. I don't need that.. Wait a minute... I do need new stuff... I am just trying to get myself into believing I got everything I want... More MBytes... NOW!! :)
  • More boxes? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ZaneMcAuley ( 266747 ) on Sunday December 23, 2001 @12:27PM (#2744284) Homepage Journal
    I currently have everything I need going through my computer. Cable TV, local Radio, internet TV, internet radio, movies, audio, games, phone calls. Why would I want more boxes?
  • by Mr. Quick ( 35198 ) <tyler DOT weir AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday December 23, 2001 @12:27PM (#2744285) Homepage Journal
    ...great, walking around with a headphone cord running from my wrist to my ears... looking good...

    i already look weird, this would just be the nail in the coffin...
    • Speaking of looking weird, I was thinking of getting a bluetooth headset [] for my new Sony Ericsson T68 [] cell phone. But the fact that they didn't even have the guts to show a picture of someone using it sort of tipped me off to the weirdness factor. What turned me off in the end, though, was the price tag... which rivals that of the phone itself.
    • They could make the mp3 watch take voice commands. So people can stare at you as you whisper into your cuff and then make nodding motions as you hold the earphone in place.

      Just better hope nobody in the area is doing anything wrong. :-)
  • by zulux ( 112259 ) on Sunday December 23, 2001 @12:33PM (#2744304) Homepage Journal

    Those cool Japanese phones all have a problem - the are very low power and have tiny antennas, and they wont work away from builtup urban centers with *tons* of cell towers. They don't even work on some Japanese college campuses due to the fact that they don't allow cell towers, and yet the phone can't use the tower just a few blocks away. They are a lot of fun, but they just wont work in the American market.
  • this article on some of the new gadgets we can expect to see in 2002

    Or rather the article tells us the gadgets we already had and lets us in on the secret that some of these will be improved. It is full of informative advice like:

    MP3 players will shrink in size but hold more songs

    DVD players will be able to play audio DVDs

    Tablets will be slimmer and lighter

    Seriously this article doesn't discuss the cool new toys we will have; all it says is the technology we already have is likely to evolve to the next stage.
  • >"Consumers don't want to figure out hardware or software.
    >They're so jaded by how hard it is to set up a computer that
    >anything that smells like it scares them to death," said Rob
    >Enderle, analyst with the Giga Information Group.

    In a related story, the US Government has started issuing grants to researchers looking to genetically modify the housecat. "Children no longer wish to clean up their pets' litter boxes. Anything resembling cat poop scares them to death, so we must tailor the cat to suit their needs." The funding for the research grant was gathered by closing down a number of pet care education programmes.
    • Just the sort of bigoted ignorance of HCI/Human-Factors that are holding back computers (and Linux particularly).

      How hard is it to operate a Gameboy? Cart in, switch flicked. That's it!
      CD player - CD in, button pressed. Music!

      I don't want to have to drop to a command line to do play my mp3s on my digital hifi. I don't want to even *see* my VCR flashing <blink>12:00</blink> at me - let alone figure out a poorly translated Japanese user manual and try and set the damn thing.

      That's what they are talking about. People don't want to have to fight with their toys just to get them to work. Flick a switch and off they go.

      • Poorly translated Asian manuals are a thing of the past if you stick to name-brand merchandise (ie Toshiba, Sony, etc) whose manufacturers have huge international translation departments.

        Hell, you'd have to be a complete moron to not understand the clock setting instructions on my 5 year old Sony VCR. The trouble is getting Joe Dipshit to actually READ the friggin manual, it's not like it's particularly hard...
        • Hell, you'd have to be a complete moron to not understand the clock setting instructions on my 5 year old Sony VCR.

          Sony, to their credit invest as much beleif in HF as Microsoft.

          The trouble is getting Joe Dipshit to actually READ the friggin manual, it's not like it's particularly hard...
          (emphasis added)
          There's the rub - it shouldn't be hard at all. Infact, why should I need to use a manual to do something as set the time. On my cheap watch I turn the bezel forward - the time moves forward. I turn the bezel back - the time moves backwards.

          Why can't a VCR be that simple?
          • A VCR can't be that simple, because if it was that simple it would be a watch.

          • some VCR clocks are that simple... my sony sets itself.
          • Infact, why should I need to use a manual to do something as set the time. On my cheap watch I turn the bezel forward - the time moves forward. I turn the bezel back - the time moves backwards.

            Why can't a VCR be that simple?

            Because knobs and encoders cost more than buttons. People say they want simple, but are they willing to pay for it? My guess is "no".

            There was this wonderful gadget that came out in, err, 94 or 95, thereabouts, called VideoGuide. It was an electronic program guide (imagine Tivo without the hard drive and modem, it got info over the pager network) that would also run your TV and VCR. And getting news stories and sports scores live were additional cost options.

            It had one of the easiest, smartest user interfaces I've ever seen. You never had to set the clock, if the software had a bug it'd be patched automagically overnight.

            Went right into the toilet. Sigh. I refused to send mine back for a refund, I loved it so (snif).
      • You can't write a letter on your CD player, and you can't browse the Internet on your gameboy. You can't watch videos, use Instant Messenger, or do any of a million other things with those appliances. It's not "bigoted ignorance" or anything holding back computers, it's the fact that it is genuinely HARD to come up with an interface sufficiently generic to do all these things, yet still be comprehensible.

        What I think is that there should be an "open-source design" project that functions in the traditional open-source manner, but produces a design instead of code. Then another project could be started to implement this design. How's that for solving the problem of starting a project in the Bazaar style? Does anyone else want to take part in a project to design a new interface for computers?

        • You can't write a letter on your CD player, and you can't browse the Internet on your gameboy.
          True - but you can do incredibly complicated things on them. "Legend of Zelda" is just as difficult as writing a letter - it's just difficult in a different way.
          As for instant messanging, take a look at something like Trillian [] - all the features of the popular IM programs, none of the bloat. One of the things I love about Office 2k is the ability to hide the features that I never use; reducing the non-useful options is the first step to usability.

          it's the fact that it is genuinely HARD to come up with an interface sufficiently generic to do all these things, yet still be comprehensible
          Actually, while is is tricky and requires a lot of user testing and feedback - it's not that hard when you consider the rewards. The main problem at the moment is people are more concerned with the "look and feel" and the general asthetics rather than if the interfaces maps to a users mental model of the program.

          Does anyone else want to take part in a project to design a new interface for computers?

          Yup! Could be a very interesting project. I think it would be wonderful to have a logically similar l&f interface that could map onto any application. KDE (from what little I've seen of it) does have a very buggy implementation of it - the control panel allows you to specify if your buttons should display Icons, text or both. Unfortunatles, not all buttons have text associated with them :-(

          @ ottawa. com
          • "Legend of Zelda" might be complicated (though it only requires 2 buttons and a D-pad), but it is consistent. Through the whole game you do the same thing: control the little guy on the screen. It is way easier to design an interface for any one game than to design a generic interface that works for internet browsing, using digital cameras, playing MP3s, and the million other things computers can do, because each one of these tasks is fundamentally different and has different usage patterns.

            Also, I'd like to note that the rewards of a task have no effect on the difficulty of the task. I do agree that a focus on asthetics is ruining quite a few interfaces these days. BTW, thanks for the pointer to Trillian, it looks neat. I just hope that the skinned interface is useful and not just eye-candy.

    • Crossbreed them with Halibut, then we can just slide them under the door when the want to go out. It would save those of on the east coast and up north a fortune during the winter months.

      Seriously though, I hope we don't see the same type of far reaching to come up with combinations in consumer products that we saw in the Dotbombs. As I watched the web grow, it went from mostly private to highly commercial. People with more money than sense (or access to a venture capital source) decided they could get rich if they took some hairbrained idea, built a slick website, advertised the website during the Superbowl. Sorry folks but a website dedicated to dilapitory for poodles was going to fail, no matter what you did, how many million dollar company parties, or who produced your tv commercials or starred in them. How many other ideas went by the wayside after blowing millions?

      What next, cell phone electric razors? Microwave MP3 player ovens? We seem to run in cycles where we go through a period of time where we get all this weird stuff that 6 months later you can't give away on EBay, then a period of time where we come to our senses, and produce and purchase products that have a purpose other than to be really cool, because it combines stuff that no one else ever thought of before.
  • by KC7GR ( 473279 ) on Sunday December 23, 2001 @12:43PM (#2744324) Homepage Journal
    In their mad craze to make cellphones and other portable hardware smaller and lighter, manufacturers have forgotten two very critical things: (1), A great many of their potential users don't have fingers the size of Tinkerbell's, and (2); The vast majority of their potential users don't have eyes like an eagle's.

    As it stands now, my own cellphone (a Motorola 'StarTac' 7868) is small enough that I keep hitting multiple keys when I'm trying to use it. Yes, I looked around for something bigger, with buttons and body sized to fit a guy with big hands, but noooooo -- everything else I found was so light and flimsy that I think even a midget would sneer at them.

    Don't even get me started on functionality vs. fluff. When you start demanding that equipment do things that are not part of its intended basic purpose, then quality and durability of the device invariably suffer.

    A good example of this is web-enabled cellphones. Who the frell wants to surf the web on a low-resolution dot-matrix LCD screen that's not even an inch and a half across? For that matter, why would anyone want to be so "wired" as to have a need to get to the web from their handheld in any case? The phones are enough of a distraction now without being 'net-ready. How many car accidents have been (rightfully) blamed on them to date?

    Just because a manufacturer can do something with technology does not always mean that they should. Smaller, lighter, and more features that you'll never use does NOT mean "better." I think the manufacturers would do well to provide a lot less fluff and a lot more practicality and durability in their products.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      The fingers you have used to dial are too fat.

      To obtain a special dialing wand, please mash the keypad with your palm now.
    • Its funny you bring that up. I recently had the dilema of deciding which cellular phone provider to go with. In the end, I ended up with Sprint, just because of the fact that I could get a "big" phone. I thought all of the other phones they were trying to sell me were going to break.
    • For that matter, why would anyone want to be so "wired" as to have a need to get to the web from their handheld in any case?

      I spend 30 minutes each weekday on the train going to and from work. Right now I pass the time reading the paper, but I wouldn't mind having this little gadget [] instead, especially since I need a new cell phone anyway.
      • I want the web on a handheld... for public transport.

        but I also don't want an internet connected toaster or a psychic fridge or half the other crap that's around.

        before you build it... stop and think... does it fill a need?
    • the perfect phone for me... the Nextel i1000+. it's not tiny, but not too big. it actually feels like talking on a phone instead of into the air. the buttons are large enough to not have to worry about pressing others at the same time, and it's not flimsy. mine had hit more parking lots and rolled down more stairs than i can remember. a few scratches aside, it's still as wonderful as it was when i got it over a year ago. it's even a lot cheaper now that the new dinky/ugly/double plus more better models are out.
  • The 80's (Score:2, Interesting)

    the industry is at a crossroads, switching from analog to digital technologies, and consumers need time to fully grasp the advantages of the fancy new devices now available.

    Wasn't this same thing being said like 15+ years ago when the CD Player was a new and hip thing?

    Hmmm... Actually, they were even saying this in the 70's when my Dad was on the R&D team for Zenith that developed the first Video Disk (Yes, he still has the very first Video Disk framed and hanging on his wall in his home office).

    My point, you may ask? When the hell are people (on the whole) going to be able to accept things are changing? I mena not 100 years ago, whom ever at Mercades-Benz (sp) was building the firrt internal combustion engine. Even less long ago people started flying. The 50's then the 60's then the... well, you get the idea. These same things have been being said for generations now, but it still seems people (on the whole, not geeks like us /.'ers) can't accept that.
    • The whoever were in fact

      Gottleib Daimler and Karl Benz (Mercedes was his daughter).

      They invented the carburettor, thus making petrol engines possible.

      Previously, engines either burned Oil (Otto Diesel) or gas (as in gaseous stuff, not petroleum, which you damn fool Americans call gas to confuse the unsuspecting).

  • I kind of agree with most people, that this article is pretty shallow and pointless. It's fairly typical, in fact, of and that's why I much prefer It's logical to expect those gadgets that we have today, to decrease significantly in size; whilst at the same time developing more and more features. Look at cellular phones for example. I had my first cell phone about five years ago - looking at it now, it's a BRICK compared to the small nokia 8210 that I now own. I can't understand why some moron journalist has got paid to write such junk. Talk about stating the obvious!
  • Bah Humbug (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PoiBoy ( 525770 )
    Do any other Slashdot readers match my profile? I enjoy using computers running Linux as much as the next geek, but I hate all these stupid little gadgets.

    I don't own a cell phone or a pager, my trusty PDA is a pad of 3x3 post-it notes, and I've never listened to an MP3 file. Yes, I do own a very nice CD player, but I still prefer my turntable; and my stereo amplifier and preamplifier use vacuum tubes.

    Seriously, how many people really *want* to have and carry around all these gadgets? I sure don't.

    Merry Christmas to all my Slashdot friends!

    • Well...
      No. You're not like me.

      I do own a cellular phone.. but it's just that, a phone. Well, okay.. it holds a dozen phone numbers of people.. mostly work related... and I do use the alarm-clock feature on occasion.. but its' just a phone. I make or receive one call a day. It didn't cost me $700 either.

      If I ever have a PDA, it'll be as a toy.

      I'd like to have a good stereo.. I'm into good headphones...
  • Sony eVilla?


    They won't even let them out as museum pieces!!!

    (I know - I asked!)
  • Screw smallness! (Score:2, Informative)

    by tempfile ( 528337 )
    I don't want a smaller mp3 player. Current ones are just about the right size. I want a digital music player with at least 128MB, *BIG* display, Ogg Vorbis support, fast USB connection, and an open interface that can be easily accessed from non-Windows systems as a block device. I also want good sound quality. Will there be such a thing? I highly doubt it. Why is it that manufacturers of portable devices think that smaller automatically equals better? Cell phones suffer the same problem. Why does nobody care about the factors that actually make up quality anymore?
    • I don't see why people want ot spend ridiculous amounts of money on overpriced and under-capacity devices.

      I while ago I wanted a CD player that would play .mp3s. Now since its taken so ling I want a CD player that will do .mp3, .ogg, and .flac. And I want it cheap, and if it plays .wma I still won't buy it.

      I think this is a reasonable request...
  • The ultimative power gadget for independent wearable computing would be a gas turbine powered by highly-ignitable gas everyone of us produces. Farts contain lots of methane which burns quite well. The turbine could even reduce the noise, or make a different sound, probably like a turbocharger.

    So have some baked beans and onion for breakfast to ensure power supply for your cell phone, your wristwatch, your PDA and whatever. Unfortunately farts will still stink after combustion, as the stinky parts (H2S and NH3) won't burn off.
  • Sony eVilla running the recently killed BeOS is one example.

    One thing that worries me about the MP3 watch is battery life of such a geek toy. I would agree with the article that more functionalities are going to be popping up in day to day ware that we are used to. Even self proclaim low sighted visionaries like Gate, Ellison or Jobs could guess that. What I am wondering about is the battery life of such things (batteries didn't evolve so rapidly as processor power) and the legislation of such items. Are car insurance ok to let drivers use a camera phone and an MP3 watch all at once? Sounds like a dangerous weapon to me.

    I just drove back home the other time and the idiot in front of me was making dangerous curbs on the highway as he was drunk. No such thing: he was taking notes on a PDA while talking on the phone and... driving.

  • by not_cub ( 133206 ) <> on Sunday December 23, 2001 @03:16PM (#2744783) Homepage
    The biggest barrier remains the cost of the multifunction gadgets (quote - But until consumers -- and not just gearheads -- show a liking to these technologies,

    No, no, no, no, no. Multi-function devices are not good. I had a nokia 9110 mobile phone that allowed access to the internet(proper internet, not just wap). It was too big to be carried, and too small to do any proper surfing. I had a 200 cd changer. It didn't play cds as well as a single cd player, and it changed them considerably worse than me (tended to get white goo all over them when it dropped them in the wrong place, and then scratch them to death). Shoes and lightbulbs are individually good devices, but the shoe lightbulb is unlikely to take off, because generally it is better to keep devices with seperate functions seperate.

    • Multi-function devices are not good. I had a nokia 9110 mobile phone that allowed access to the internet(proper internet, not just wap). It was too big to be carried

      Have you played with the new iPaq? That screen is big enough to watch a movie on, and it's big enough to read /. on, and the Transcriber is pretty fucking acurate and seamless now. And the fitaly keyboard [] is pretty damn fast input.

      Screw Nokia, all I want is lots of really good, small computers, with fast input, and good output. I want to see 802.11 on them, and that's all I need. That form factor is small enough for me.

      cheers, joshua

    • generally it is better to keep devices with seperate functions seperate.

      I mostly agree, right up until the moment I have to start carrying all these devices. Personally, I don't want a pager, cellphone, PDA, MP3 and FM radio, digital still camera and digital video camera all competing for pocket space. I would far rather have a palm (small 'p') computer that can take care of all that for me.

      It's the portability of such devices that make them usable. Personally, I welcome the trend towards multi-functional devices. However, it should never be at the expense of remembering how the device is used (your 9110 being a perfect example).


  • I work as a engineer in the cellphone industry, and from the price of our stock I can tell you that no one in the US at least wants overbloated feature rich cellphones. They just want to talk and have great battery times.

    I know its different in Japan, but that technology doesn't seem to be getting here very quickly. There's no spectrum space for it here.
  • What's the point in us geeks wanting for players that will only play in a proprietary format?

    Every time you encode an mp3, you legally owe the Fraunhofer institute money. Every time you produce an mp3 decoder, you owe Fraunhofer lots of money.

    I'd much rather see players supporting open standards, such as ogg vorbis.

    (flame suit on)
    They sound better anyway
  • by Hadlock ( 143607 )
    smaller mp3 players, more powerful cell phones? you can buy a minimalist mp3 player @ comp usa for 20$ now. uses that crazy expensive propraitary memory media flash or somthing, but hell, change it to compact flash, and build the player into the phone, in one of the larger open spots inside the case. oh yeah, and IR in/out on it. I want to be able to train my cell phone to all the remotes in my house, AND my girlfriends. if you're gonna carry somthing around, it might as well be useful.
  • quick summary... (can you say 'redundant'?)

    Basically the article is full of generalisations and seems to miss what the users want. Technology will improve and get smaller and better, i would hardly expect anythign else. I think the likelyhood of 'revolutionary' changes is fairly low but then how can we predict it? Silly article IMHO.

    In a phone i want (i dont have a mobile btw) long battery life, useable interface and thats it. I really dont want WAP or anything.

    I use minidisk personally, as MP3 hasn't been cheap or good enough recently, but if i changed to MP3 i would want the following: Long battery time, say 20 hours or so, large disk space - a few gigs would do at minimum, and decent sound quality. I dont care how big it is as long as i can fit it in my (large) jacket pocket just about.

    Until an MP3 player that is cheap as Minidisk (£130 ish or less) comes out with these features i'm not upgrading.

  • by EchoMirage ( 29419 ) on Sunday December 23, 2001 @07:19PM (#2745478)
    The problem with a lot of new technology is that it's only better by the numbers, whether that be storage space, physical size, image size, etc. They're not often better by quality though.

    Observe this: a Canon Rebel 2000 35mm camera and any decent lens takes pictures of a MAGNITUDE higher quality than most any sub-$2000 digital camera. The lens is interchangeable, you can choose focus points, aperture settings, shutter speed, etc. Sure, a $1000 digicam takes 4 megapixel pictures and burns them onto a CD-R, but you still can't tweak camera settings as well as a fairly basic 35mm camera, and often things like sharpness and color depth aren't nearly as good as film.

    Same with MP3 players. You can make them tiny, but do they sound good? I don't have audiophile golden ears, but on my Sony DJ headphones, I can hear the difference between CDs on a portable CD player and most MP3 players, which either use a cheesy DAC or have a horrible headphone output.

    And, as other have noted, size is a big consideration. You can get a 14.1" screen on laptops that displays 1600x1200 resolution, but unless you're of the 20% of Americans that has good eyesight, you won't be able to read it. Ditto tiny keys on cell phones, watches, etc. User interface is waaaaaay behind technology in most areas.

    So basically, we have some amazing technology, but it's being hindered by oversight in basic areas. It would be like using $5 Radio Shack speaker cable to power a $20,000 stereo system. The devil is in the details, but too often, they seem to be overlooked...
  • The biggest barrier remains the cost of the multifunction gadgets

    Um, no. The biggest barrier will be scum like the RIAA and MPAA and their bastard spawn the DMCA and SSSCA.

A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours. -- Milton Berle