Device Convergence And The Battles We Will See

from the battles-battles-everywhere dept

As everyone is busy touting VoWiFi as the next big thing, some are starting to express skepticism, wondering if all this convergence is going to cause a variety of problems. With devices taking on more and more features, there are a few immediate conflicts to worry about. One is technical: more features means more expense, more power consumption and more cutting of corners to make it all fit. Another is on the business model side. Right now there are all sorts of separate devices with separate business models and service plans. However, when the devices converge, so do the business models, and we’re likely to see more battles over who really owns the customer (i.e., who owns the billing relationship) and what business models get squeezed out of existence altogether (i.e., which things are offered up for free as a promotion for the overall device). For example, if (as some are saying) mobile phones will replace iPods, you have hardware providers, carriers and service providers (like Apple’s iTunes) all vying to make some money. Who is the interface to the customer? How does the money get split up? While customers may be willing to pay separate subscription fees on different devices, will they be as welcome if it’s all in a single package, or does the expectation of price go down? The report linked here suggests the answer will be that the “personal mobile gateway” from folks like IXI will be the right answer, letting the convergence happen without overburdening the device itself, by offering all sorts of networkable components that work together as needed. The theory, then is that this could also solve the business model issues by separating out ownership on a per-component basis. The problem, however, is that most people still seem to look at the idea of the PMG and say “um… but then I need to carry a whole bunch of devices.”

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Comments on “Device Convergence And The Battles We Will See”

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Xueilonox (user link) says:

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My argument, which I note in my blog, is that multiple devices will always exist. My game console, which can play DVD’s, hasn’t replaced my standalone DVD player. My Tivo hasn’t truly replaced my VCR because I move my favorite shows off on to tape. Maybe in the future, the problems that come with converging devices will get worked out. But cramming everything into one package will always, at some point, become unpractical.

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