The evolution of technology

May 3, 2015 4:43 PM

I always find it interesting how new technology emerges from concept to become a mainstream consumer product. A great example is how tablet computers have become ubiquitous in present society. Not only have they become present in most homes, they are found on the high street in various shops to improve the shopping experience. They have even started to replace the humble pieces of paper used in television broadcasts such as on the news.

Tablets have appeared in science fiction in shows such as Star Trek and 2001: A Space Odyssey years before electronic companies began to fully develop prototypes of the tablets which we use today. Early devices suffered from several flaws. They were bulky, had poor battery life, poor user interface for gesture input, poor hardware and software to name a few. They basically suffered from being the right product being offered to consumers at the wrong time.

The concept of the tablet had to wait for the technology to catch up in order for to be a viable product that will appeal to the consumer at the right price point with excellent product support. Apple were the first to act on this and with a successful marketing campaign to promote the device resulted in the iPad becoming the biggest selling tablet on the market. Part of the iPad success followed off the back of the iPhone where again Apple were the first to successfully identify that the technology has caught up with the smartphone concept.

It has been five years since the first generation iPad was released and amazingly 8 years since the first generation of iPhone came out! How time flies! Other electronic companies have been playing catch up which resulted in numerous other devices hitting the market as well as a spate of patent infringements and court cases. Despite all this the iPad and iPhone are still enjoying impressive sales.

So to massively over simplify things, in order to make a great consumer product one must first have

  • An initial concept.
  • Be able to identify when the technology has caught up to make it viable to appeal to the consumer.
  • Good product support (software updates and third party apps).
  • Have a damn good marketing campaign.

If just one of these points is missing a product is doomed in my opinion.

Take a look at Google Glass prototype. It received great praise and the concept was there to the point where other manufactures were developing rival products. Yet it is no longer being produced. I think where the product fell down was with the technology not offering the right user experience and being expensive. Also poor marketing and privacy concerns did not help its cause. Give it a few years when the technology has caught up and armed with an improved marketing campaign I can see Google Glass potentially being a success.

technology

I am a technophile and an early adopter of new electronic products. But when I buy a new piece of tech I like to make an informed decision rather than base it on hype. I had the iPad 2 which I upgraded to iPad Air 2. I believe it is the best tablet for my needs based on its design and product support from Apple, where they are still even offering software update for the iPad 2 which is four years old unlike other tablet manufacturers. So with the iPad I am guaranteed a long shelf life. I usually use the iPad for internet browsing, emails and general light computing work. Anything more intensive I will use my PC or laptop running Microsoft Windows as again they are best suited for my needs. For my phone a long shelf life is not a concern as I generally upgrade every two years. I am currently using the Samsung Galaxy note Edge. I think it has to be one of the best phones I have ever used. Initially the size put me off but when you get used to all that screen estate and the S-Pen and it is a dream to use. I have never been more productive using a mobile device and that includes when using the iPad. Also there is some criticism that the phone is big to use with one hand. But personally I have noticed with all the touch screen phones I have had I tend to hold it with one hand and use the other hand to use it, regardless of size. The size of the Samsung Note series had always been criticised, but it is still with us as the technology works so well with the phablet concept. But even now its sales are being eroded away by Apple and their iPhone 6 Plus. This is partly due to Apple having a larger consumer base already and poor marketing campaign by Samsung which resulted in poor public awareness of their latest and greatest products. This is a shame as the Note Edge is probably on the bleeding edge of mobile phone screen technology. Well until the flexible screens become a feasible option. That curved edge screen is a delight to use and to show off to others. I just wish more people can experience using it. The Note Edge can be seen as the first change in the generic candybar smartphone design in years. It is just a shame it did not get the attention it deserved and so not being widely adopted.

If it is any consolation, at least I can say that I am currently using a device that sets me apart from the crowd. Surely that is not a bad thing…right?

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