one device to rule them all

by colemauer

unconfirmed statistic:

8,284,671,582 smartphones have been released in the last year running android OS alone.

With that said, the actual percentage of wireless users who use a smartphone was 28% at the end of last year according to Nielsen.

With predictions that smartphone usage will eclipse that of non-smartphone usage in the coming year, it’s safe to assume that we’ll all be carrying around a 4 inch device capable of calling, texting, tweeting, checking in, blogging, microblogging, flikring, twitpicking, youtubing, digging, redditing, 4channing, commenting, liking, and upvoting pretty much anything we can get our eyes on. While the sheer number of smartphones available rises as quickly as the user base can keep up, it seems these hardware companies are having no trouble packing the latest processor, keyboard (or lack thereof), camera, internal memory, and screen output into a device as small or as large as is appropriate.

These capabilities, comprehensive as they are, lead me to one question that I pose to the makers of mp3 players, cameras, video recorders and gaming handhelds.

What now?

It’s a disheartening questions, because many of us, myself included, have several of these peripherals that could, at any moment, become obsolete. Now you may notice no shortage of iPod, NintendoDS, PSP, Flip HD, or heaven forbid, the latest appearance of @aplusk and his newest coolpix point and shoot, but now that the smartphone is beginning to catch up in the realm of hardware to not only still pictures but HD video, onboard storage, and now processing speed indicative of a gaming handheld, where to these secondary accessories turn to differentiate themselves from their multitasking brethren?

The truth is, as you’ll find out, I have a lot of questions and far fewer answers (at least in this post), but with the coming of the Nintendo 3DS and Sony’s new Playstation handheld on the way, we’re soon to find out. My guess is they’re sticking with the dedicated hardware route to stay ahead of the smartphone curve. With its 2 rear-facing cameras, Nintendo’s new model touts a 3D experience unlike any other handheld; and Sony’s new model is teasing enough processing ammunition to spec out at near PS3 speeds, surely keeping any smartphone’s antenna shaking in fear…for now.

 

But what what we have to ask ourselves (I know, again with the questions) is do we really want to continue paying $20-40 for new games on systems that are likely to be pricepointed between $300 to $400 that we’re really only going to pick up on a plane or a bus ride?

I’ll admit, my last gaming handheld was a Gameboy, the big one, no – not the one that came in pretty colors; so I may be a bit biased, or at least recently unversed in the ways of the current handhelds, but I just don’t see the market. I’m not going to shell out the cash for a low-res version of a game I have on my console at home just so I can be entertained on my flight to Atlanta when the free version of Angry birds (with free updates on android) awaits on my phone for hours (yes, hours) of enjoyment.

I guess my point is that I see smartphone gaming and app purchases on the rise, and gaming handhelds and cartridge play on the downslope. Nostalgia pulls at me, ’cause Mario and I had some great times playing golf in monochrome, but with my keys in my right pocket, It really comes down to me only wanting and needing one handheld, powered by Android (or Apple), indivisible, with HDMI out, and extended battery life for all.

-cole

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