The Perfect Photo Op?
Mark Guibert, vice president of corporate marketing at Blackberry-maker Research In Motion (RIM), admits that convergence is still a catch word for how far devices will go before reaching a unified status, if at all. "The answer continues to depend on individual user requirements, and while we're seeing the convergence of many features, the market will likely remain fragmented with a range of devices that offer different feature combinations and price points to satisfy the varying user and corporate requirements and preferences," he says, noting that most features still impose some type of tradeoff in terms of cost, battery life, size, weight, usability, security, manageability, etc.
"You can't, of course, cram every device and feature together and expect the same type of battery life or user experience or price or overall quality," explains Guibert. "Some people will want their phone and e-mail experience maximized because those applications are too important to compromise and they will rely on other devices to play their music and take their pictures. Others won't care as much about optimizing certain key applications and will want the Swiss Army knife-style of an all-in-one device. All things being equal, people want one device, but all things are rarely equal and most people only go for convergence when it's done right and suits their particular preferences."
He cites the size of the market as an important factor. "I think analysts are estimating mobile phone sales this year will exceed 600 million units," says Guibert. "That's a big enough market to allow the industry to cater to some fragmented needs and preferences."