It annoys the heck out of me, but Ive finally realized that gadgets are the future. It took 20 years of messing around with them and seeing how others gloat about the latest addition to their arsenal to realize how important they are, but clearly everyones going to be packing PC power in their pockets and pocketbooks in the near future.
Maybe the craze really began with the slide rule, but the seeds of my obsession began with those little LED-lit Coleco football games. Others graduated to Gameboys and finally to PalmPilots and cell phones. My obsession, meanwhile, was halted unexpectedly when my little brother began to repeatedly beat me at head-to-head hockey.
Today, many people have a great need for control, for power and for remaining connected to the world, even if theyre detaching themselves from the rest of humanity to do it. Companies have been working incredibly hard to make gadgets smaller and more useful.
The newest Sharp Zaurus SL-5500, for example, runs Linux and is in reality a full-fledged computer thats capable of doing anything a PC can do. With an expansion kit, it can also act as a cell phone.
Meanwhile, Palms newest gadget, the i705, is making a splash with those who want wireless connectivity. Palm connected with CopyTalk to include with the i705 a service that allows people to schedule appointments and e-mail anyone with a regular phone call.
Finally, theres RIM, with the BlackBerry, and Danger, with the Hiptop, which raise the bar on coolness and stretch the limitations of paging technology. Theyre great CEO gadgets, if nothing else.
Perhaps the best story behind all this is Motorola, a company shockingly in the tank despite good technology. Motorolas DragonBall processor (perhaps the greatest chip name ever) powers the new Palm and includes a multimedia platform that shows what gadgets will become. The merger between cell phones and handhelds has, in effect, created new content-rich advertising vehicles that will feature location-based tracking—allowing advertisers to know exactly where you are, who you know and what you like.
Thats my conspiracy theory of the day. Whats yours? Write to me at john_ [email protected]