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Jun 22, 2009

Convergence, Cell phones and System C

By Doug Rock

While combing the cell phone section at a local big box electronics store recently, I overheard a young women commenting on a particular cell phone model. “I like the keyboard and everything, but it only comes with a three megapixal camera and the video recorder isn’t the greatest.”

 When I was a kid we had an immobile phone that sat on our counter like a mutant toad sarcophagus on a corkscrew leash, its olive skin matching the hip veneer of our Kenmore refrigerator. This anvil of a phone did not sport an embedded camera, video player or audio recorder. So when I hear concerns about the video quality some of these phones deliver, I start pricing ear horns and four-wheeled walkers.

I am still amazed that today’s phones can be removed from the home, much less manage your photography, video, music, email and other communication needs. But then, you’re talking to a former fourth grader who thought shooting a “photo” of a lunar eclipse with a pinhole camera was cool.

Things change.

I am not the only one who appreciates the latest features offered by today’s cellular wonders. Journalists, covering riotous crowds in the streets of Tehran following the country’s recent presidential election, had their video cameras confiscated by Iranian security officials.

Adapting to the situation, many of the journalists used their cell phones to continue capturing the events on video. Some used their phones to photograph what was happening and/or used the phones to record audio. That data was then transferred to their respective news outlets for distribution.

Convergence is all the rage in many industries. The auto industry has enthusiastically jumped on the cross over bandwagon; media is, albeit with a staggering lack of grace, integrating Web, print, audio/video and social media; gaming console manufacturers market systems that enable users to, in addition to playing video games, download movies, games, video, music and more.

What’s happening in the world of information technology? Clearly, the planet is calling for a server that integrates multiple operating systems, a database, DASD, communication technology and the ability to incorporate and manage disparate hardware on a single box.  I know, I know, I dream crazy big, but the technology company that creates this convergent, all-in-one system will have a seismic hit on its hands. They might even call it, System C.


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