Chrysler are introducing a ‘web-edition’ mobile Internet device package for their cars which comprises a Wifi/3G router with one year of 3G data contract, a Sony PSP, a Dell Mini 9, an Apple iPod Touch and Eye-Fi wifi/sd card. The option price is $1999. Mobile Internet Mobility!
It got me thinking, given $2000 and assuming you had no mobile devices, what devices would you choose? You’d need to cover the following mobile scenarios.
- PC Computing (screen, keyboard, storage, desktop OS)
- Handheld web browser and e-book reader
- Media (video and audio) playback
- Photography / Video
- Navigation (with turn-by-turn)
- Connectivity (voice, data, wifi, 3G, BT)
The WiFi/3G router is a good idea for the car but I’m thinking that a 3G-enabled netbook might be more flexible as you could use it as a mobile hotspot without having an extra device. Something like the new MSI Wind U120 perhaps or a 3G-enabled Samsung NC10? For the camera, PIM and voice, I’d be happy with the results I’m getting from the Nokia N82. For media, I’d probably go the Archos 5 or Aigo MID route but theTouch would also be a good solution here but what about the turn-by-turn navigation? The Aigo wouldn’t really cut-it for gaming or navigation and the netbook would be too unwieldy so you’re left with a big issue of having to buy too many standalone devices. None of the mid-range consumer electronic handheld devices are converged enough or capable enough to fill that middle gap between voice and computing. We need one device big enough and powerful enough to cover gaming, navigation, video playback, e-reading and web-browsing.
Rather than the MID being thought of as a web browsing device, think about what the 5" screen, sub 1lb/400gm form-factor can offer in terms of convergence outside the browsing scenario. Gaming, Navigation, Video playback, Browsing, E-Books. This is exactly the target market for a MID. I’m talking about mobile, handheld, Internet-connected devices as talked about in this article, that can cover all angles. Not perfectly of course, you won’t find a MID that gives you a e-paper reading experience for many years yet, but able to do all the jobs well enough to give you a satisfying, money-saving, well-integrated, stylish and space-saving experience. Just imagine if the iPod touch had a 5" screen, more processing power, Bluetooth networking, GPS+turn-by-turn navigation and a high-quality camera! You probably wouldn’t want to combine voice onto that device though as it would be too big to be comfortable in a pocket for 24/7 use and the chances are that you’d run the battery down in a few hours given all the fun features so personally, I’d split the PIM, MP3, Camera and voice functions off onto a super slick phone that I could upgrade every year and go with the three device strategy of phone, MID, Netbook to cover the scenarios above. Add a couple of data contracts on to that and you’re well under $2000 for the first year.
What devices would you choose for $2000? Do you think a mobile Internet device can solve the multi-device issue above? Do you want voice on your MID for even more convergence or are you happy with a staggered and often more real-world scenario of purchasing devices for specific tasks, as you need them?