Wednesday, January 16, 2013

All my devices, and how they are changing our behavior

A lot of you have seen the huge pile of devices that I used as examples when writing the book. Often I get the question of "which one do I actually use," which of course misses the point of even a consumer today; we use multiple devices, in different contexts.

I carry several handsets and tablets in my briefcase (or have them next to me on the desk) to try new products only available on one platform, to check out how a new design of my own works on specific devices (or every device) or just to generally gain insight into how users of some different device class or OS might experience the world.

But I've also noticed lately how many devices are around the house. Let's look:

These are all the mobile devices in my bag or pocket, carried around by the wife or daughter, or sitting in the living room waiting to be used all the time. Everything here is used at least weekly, and most of them many times a day.

And it leaves out a lot of connected devices still. There's also an older Tablet PC in the living room, the TV (okay, BD player) is connected so we can watch Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, etc. and of course there are also three laptops and a desktop mac, and two more WinTel laptops issued to me by clients. And there's a WiFi hotspot I use to connect a lot of these to the network (I lost another, so the Mini serves that purpose for my wife now).

What I have found interesting is how it's not too many devices. Instead, everyone becomes accustomed to having them. I travel a lot, and take half of these away with me regularly. I'd assumed the various tablets were just work devices and if I thought about it at all, they are a bonus when I was around. But instead the rest of the family has become accustomed to them, and misses the ability to use decent tablets as an adjunct to handsets. So I had to buy another one (the Mini) for the wife, and clean off an old junky one (the Polaroid) for the child. Who is sad she doesn't get a Nexus 7 or iPad Mini for herself.

It is hard to analyze something that I am this close to, but I get the impression that the vision of a PADD (or... whoever it was who posited several sizes of devices long ago) is a good one. I can envision a world where MID/Tablet sized devices are cheap enough and have some multi-user setup, so they can be strewn around, can be lost and broken without worry, and can be used by anyone.

I am not there yet, but I can see this world right around the corner.

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