Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Device simplification through division...

The problem with many current gadgets and devices in the consumer electronics space is that they are just too complicated to use for all but the geeks and the enthusiasts like me.  They need to be easy enough for my mum to use, and everyone else's mum.  The user interface is only part of the complexity problem ... and some steps are being achieved in more natural ways to interact with devices particularly through the increasing employment of touch screens and gesture based input that devices such as Apple's iPhone have stimulated.  But this is only part of the solution.  

Further into the future, as personal area network wireless technologies and common plug-in architectures develop, I expect to see a division of current device components into co-operating elements.  Along with other advantages, this also improves comprehension for the user ... they only have to understand the individual components' functions - not the complexity in the way they work together.  An analogy is how supporters of a sports team made up of some great players may identify with the individual people in the team but rarely comprehend the complex way those players work together to make it a successful team.  

Part of the advances to be made for this division to happen is based around context-aware computing engines and architectures.  Intel may be taking steps along this path in an article I saw recently.  Such a plug-in architecture would potentially provide this facility within a wide range of consumer electronics devices and gadgets.

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