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BBC: 2005 Looking Good for Gadgets 149

wiggles writes "The BBC says, 'The relentless pace of development in the hi-tech world and rampant competition in many of its sectors, particularly among mobile phone firms, all suggests that 2005 is going to be a very good year.' They talk about that (overused?) buzzword 'convergence' and the implications for gadgets in 2005 as we further approach the 'convergence' asymptote. So what 2005 gadgets are Slashdotters looking forward to?" I'm forecasting that 2006 and 2007 are ALSO looking good for gadgets. You heard it here first...
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BBC: 2005 Looking Good for Gadgets

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  • iPhone (Score:3, Insightful)

    by choas ( 102419 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @09:33AM (#11243729)
    I will need to get my hands on an Apple iPhone (or whatever they will call it)

  • time warp (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ghostprovidence ( 540255 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @09:36AM (#11243740)
    If you live in Korea or Japan you already own the cool gadgets we'll see in 2006 ...
  • by stanley_caiww ( 547410 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @09:41AM (#11243771)
    the toys are so expensive and complex. Do you guys really think they will make our life easier?
  • The Perfect Phone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by global_diffusion ( 540737 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @09:44AM (#11243790) Homepage
    I want the phone I used to have. I bought this Nokia 8600 (8200?) in the year 2000. It was excellent. It was tiny, got great reception and had amazing voice quality. I paid around $150 for it, and it was worth every penny.

    I dropped it once and it stopped working. When I went looking for a new phone, I discovered that Nokia had discontinued the 8600 and the only options for new phones were these large monstrosities with cameras, video games, color screens and picture messaging. Absolutely horrible.

    Now, don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to the days of wearable computers, but when it comes to a cellphone, all I want is a phone that is small and has good voice quality. The 8200 was the perfect phone. I have no idea why it was discontinued, but all the cell phone makers are playing the same game -- gadgets, gadgets, gadgets. I don't want crazy features, I want something that does its job well, not 15 jobs poorly.

    Here's to hoping that in 2005 cell phone makers will go back to producing good cell phones, and not try to include a camera and an atari emulator on every model!
  • Re:useless gagets. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by over_exposed ( 623791 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @09:44AM (#11243792) Homepage
    Do I need a cellphone that takes photos, does e-mail, records my voice and takes video? Nah... Would I rather carry one cell phone that does such things instead of cellphone, a digital camera (video and/or still), laptop and mp3 voice recorder (or tape recorder)? Hell right.

    I know the quality of the camera/video isn't comparable to what I would get out of a "real" digicam, but hell, it will get better over time. They may be "useless gadgets" for some of us who don't use a camera or voice recorder on a daily basis, but there is *always* a market for the latest and greatest. Even if there isn't a market for a new toy like this when they conceive it, the clever folks in marketing will *create* a market for it before it's released.

    If it has flashy lights, uses a battery, and can be used as a tool for productivity -or- a distraction from the real world, you'd better believe it will get made and it will sell.
  • Re:useless gagets. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MathFox ( 686808 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @09:50AM (#11243820)
    Do you really need a cellphone that takes photos, emails, voice, and now video? Do you really need a MP3 players that play 10,000 songs? do you need to carry a PDA?
    I don't need to carry my PDA; but I'ld hate to go back to carrying a dead tree agenda. There are a lot of experimental gadgets coming on the market now. The bad designs will die; some good designs will remain and be improved upon. I can not predict how our personal electronic tools will look like in 10-20 years. I know that some of the current designs will seem hilarious then. I don't see electrical engineers develop drugs. Good communication can save lifes too: Imagine that information about the reach of the latest tsunami had to be distributed by pigeons.
  • $500 "iMac mini" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 03, 2005 @09:51AM (#11243832)
    I hope the rumors about this little beast are true-- I'd love to get as many family and friends as possible to switch away from Windows, and the existence of a cheap Mac would be a big help.
  • Re:useless gagets. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CrankyFool ( 680025 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @09:52AM (#11243835)
    Once when I was responsible for infrastructure for a major company, my boss the CIO said to me "OK, people are talking about how they'd like the servers to be faster. This is good, because they're no longer saying they'd like the servers to stay up -- they just assume they will."

    I don't need a cellphone that takes pictures and plays MP3s, but I'm looking for one; and I don't need an iPod that can store 40Gb of music, but it sure is nice not to have to worry about what to transfer over to the iPod and just put _everything_ there so I can access it.

    It's natural, when what we actually _need_ is taken care of, to start looking at the next step -- the things we'd really, really like.

    The truth is (well, the truth filtered through my liberal biases) that people need to feel secure in their person, that they need to have a way to make sure they'll have food on their table tomorrow, and a way to exercise a certain sense of autonomy. A roof over their head would be nice too.

    While in much of the world the above can't be taken for granted, most of us who read Slashdot already have this. We're probably not going to get shot in the street; we probably don't have to worry about being able to afford a loaf of bread tomorrow. So we start looking at the next, more optional stuff. That's OK -- there's nothing wrong with wanting more out of life than the bare necessities -- as long as we don't confuse "Man, I'd really like to be able to play 'Baby One More Time' as my ringtone" with a need :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 03, 2005 @10:03AM (#11243892)
    I think the relentless pace of development in the hi-tech world and rampant competition will be responsible for many premature releases of buggy gadgets in 2005.
  • by sczimme ( 603413 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @10:13AM (#11243937)

    Here's to hoping that in 2005 cell phone makers will go back to producing good cell phones, and not try to include a camera and an atari emulator on every model!

    I travel quite a bit to customer sites, and many of them - particularly organizations with very valuable intellectual property (e.g. trade secrets) - explicitly prohibit cameras of any kind. It is my hope that the major mobile phone vendors recognize the need for nicely-featured phones without cameras for use by consultants and other people working in these facilities.
  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @10:47AM (#11244156) Homepage Journal
    I and I suspect most of you over the age of 15 don't need a 'phone' primarilly designed for game play. Though I can't decide which I need more; a device that plays audio CDs and MP3 CDs as well as solid state storage MP3s, or, a phone/PDA combo that can replace an MP3 player as well, as long as the MP3 player doesn't tax the battery much more than the phone how.

    I would like better more commonsense PDA functions in the phone such as Palm conduits to Lotus notes and the ability to sync to a web based public calendar. I'd also like a better phone book, one that allows better integration of email addresses.

    And as a long time T9 user - back when it was used on Palmpilots as well, I have to say, that dog won't hunt anymore. It's too tedious to use effectively for text messaging and email. I think that Samsung and company are just going to have to bite the bullet on this one and provide a fold up keyboard tht connects to the obscure and seemingly useless data port on on VI660 phone in order for me to effectively use PCS vision services.

    And I probably won't get a camera phone unless and until it's a better cheaper and more efficient replacement for a REAL digital camera. And at that, it has to plug directly into a photo printer and unload and print just like the cameras of today.

    In five years I want to get rid of my laptop, PDA, phone, MP3 and CD player and use a single device that doesn't cost as much as a car, runs 2 full days on battery power and is 100% backup-able to some storage device on my homeLAN like a network NAS box.
  • by bhima ( 46039 ) <> on Monday January 03, 2005 @11:06AM (#11244306) Journal
    My Girlfriend has this phone that is TINY. I find it almost impossible to use. And I really don't get this incredible shrinking phone thing. The distance from my mouth to my ear is still the same as is the size of my hands. What good is a phone I can't dial?
  • by WillAdams ( 45638 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @12:03PM (#11244872) Homepage
    Unfortunately, Apple, the company with some of the best pen technology and hardware engineering capabilities steadfastly refuses to make a successor to a product which was an excellent ebook reader (and personal digital assistant --- inaugurating the term) --- unfortunately the only pen computing solutions Apple offers are Macs w/ Wacom graphic tablets (I mislike working on one surface and watching what happens on another, and gave up on schlepping a graphics tablet and a laptop around when I got my NCR-3125) or a PowerMac w/ a Wacom Cintiq --- that last is a pretty cool (albeit expensive) solution, but it's uncommon enough not much software specifically takes advantage of it (Alias' Sketchbook was ported to Mac OS X after many requests). Contrast this w/ the situation for Windows Tablet PCs and look at &c.

    Think of it as an extension to the iPod line --- the iPod lets one carry all of one's music (as a backup too) and modify the order it plays in --- the iPod Photo adds all of one's images to that --- how about a further upscale unit to allow one to carry all of one's documents?

    Even if it did nothing but display a .pdf version (why aren't .pdfs as document previews in bundles a standard for apps these days?) and allowed one to do basic annotation and mark up it'd still be fabulously useful (can you say ebooks? importing annotations from Acrobat and applying them as revisions in Word? extending this functionality to support all Cocoa apps?)

    If it's set up to be a Macintosh computer as well, being able to run Mac applications is a huge benison is just icing on the cake, but just basic use (calendaring / scheduling, note-taking, document annotation) in situations where a laptop is inappropriate / inconvenient (meetings, interviews, while walking about), and having the (portable!) equivalent to a Wacom Cintiq whet it's attached to one's Macintosh (look at the program Maxivista for an example of how this could work) is certainly worthwhile.

    And of course, it'd be nice to replace my Newton which I still use for contact management (synch w/ iCal and, note-taking (port the Newton user interface and Notepad) and of course, reading some ebooks (incl. .html versions --- port Safari).

    (whose Stylistic has music, hundreds of ebooks, a complete graphic design portfolio _and_ all the tools necessary to update and work on said portfolio --- see --- including a copy of TeX, LyX &c.)
  • Open platforms (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <`gro.uaeb' `ta' `sirromj'> on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:32PM (#11246332)
    Too often the cell companies design with the "Phone Company" mindset; i.e. they design a totally closed platform that they control so they can extract revenue from you. Yes the gadget can do cool ringtones, take pictures and play games.... at a per use charge for each.

    If it isn't an open platform you can count me out. By open I don't mean it has to run Linux, but if I can't get a devel kit at little (use the pricing and availibility for the official Palm devkit as an example) or no cost it isn't open. If I can't download apps from sourceforge and install them without the vendor's blessing it isn't open. Notice that even WinCE is open by this definition.

    Yes I understand that some parts of a cellphone's firmware must be unchangable for reasons that are obvious to anyone with an understanding of how things work, but the rest should be as open as possible, and standardized across multiple product lines and vendors is a big plus.

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."