Four Screen Convergence

July 28, 2009 § 2 Comments

convergenceThe first cellular device was a huge clunky piece of electronic seemingly from the Paleolithic Era. It made calls, and received them. As time went on, technology innovated and created smaller cellular devices that could also send texts in addition to making and receiving phone calls. Soon after, someone came up with the brilliant idea to converge the mobile device, with the camera. This was the first instance of two screen technologies converging. But people wanted more. There was a demand for the ability to push email to mobile devices, and soon enough, cell phones were being created that allowed one to not only email, but surf the web, and even play games. This is where we are today. For many, their mobile devices are essentially a secondary laptop, where they’re able to view and receive presentations, play Super Monkey Ball, find directions from their current location using GPS or triangulation, and of course, browse the web. But it doesn’t stop there. Although we are currently able to view videos off sites such as YouTube, we’re still unable to view actual, live content on the vast majority of mobile devices. The technology is there, it’s just expensive, and consequently, not widely used. Additionally, while you can view live content now, you unfortunately need high speed internet connection when streaming live content. And this is where mobile technology will likely trend in the next 5 to 10 years, if not sooner.

We’re likely to see a convergence of an additional screen into the already convergent three screen technology we’re seeing with mobile devices now: the television. Soon enough, our cell phones will act as a secondary television in addition to a secondary laptop, camera, and phone. In all likelihood, we’d still probably need TiVO, but if we’re at, say, a wedding, but we really want to catch the intense Barça game against Manchester United, rather than relying on a live score feed, we could pop in headphones and watch away, in real time! Or, for you baseball fans out there, the Giants are playing the Dodgers, the Red Sox are playing the Yankees–would you rather go shopping with your significant other as they try on a million pairs of the exact same shirt when the game is going on or risk their monstrous wrath? Shopping would probably be more bearable if you could catch your game in real time, from wherever you are. Although you could do that right now, you’d need high speed internet, and unfortunately, the reality is that you’re not guaranteed high speed internet on your mobile device at all times.

Soon enough, as companies in the streaming live content for mobile devices space innovate, and as the demand for live television on mobile devices grow, we’ll likely see the convergence of this additional “screen” on our mobile device. I, for one, certainly can’t wait. I can watch that new episode of Lost, Fringe, or Dollhouse right when it airs (okay, fine, Gossip Girls). Take THAT spoiler meanies!

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