IT companies that pile on features and bundle multiple functionalities into single devices are making technology too complicated to use.
The obvious solution is to "disintegrate" the technologies, argued Philip McKinney, chief technology officer at HP's Personal Systems Group.
"Consumers are looking for something that is radically simple and easy to integrate in their lives. Today you have to wrap your life around the technology," McKinney said at a company event in San Francisco.
"The focus is not to integrate more features and functions into devices, but actually to disintegrate those features and functions into devices that are more focused on a single function."
Creating single-function devices could make for more intuitive appliances which would focus more on solving real user problems, according to McKinney.
His vision is centred on a personal gateway device that acts as a central communications hub by connecting devices to the internet and other networks.
McKinney painted a scenario in which a special watch would hold all the required wireless broadband radios. It would transmit data from hosted services to a number of displays and thin clients.
He explained, however, that the personal gateway is merely a concept and that HP at this point has no concrete plans to start producing any of the products.
The vision is in part intended to challenge the technology industry to rethink its focus on piling on too many features.
The idea of a personal information gateway is far from new. In the early days of Bluetooth, numerous companies including Seiko, Samsung and Sanyo launched concepts for personal mobile gateway (PMG) products where a mobile phone would be in the centre of a web of devices and applications.
The gateway would allow a digital camera, for example, to connect to the internet and store images, or allow a media player to stream music or video content. The PMG rush peaked around 2003 and quickly evaporated.
- Pictures of McKinney's concept products are available on the
Valley Sleuth Blog.
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