The implosion and resulting debris of our tech devices

What will be the new laptop, tablet, smartphone era of today?

What is the primary difference between our smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops?

It’s easy to look at the vastly different product around us and turn to their specs, or the different types of input methods or even the size of the battery.

Of course, this one has a mouse and keyboard, and this one lets me touch it’s screen. This one can do chats well or has GPS. Makes sense, this one you can carry around in your pocket and the other needs to be plugged into the wall. I can’t curl up to read an e-book on the couch with my huge gaming computer.

You’re right, they are very different products and serve us in very different ways, but the primary difference is no techno babble, it’s really quite simple, and once we figure out this really simple point all new trends start making sense. It becomes really obvious actually.

The primary difference is the screen real estate.

Really, that is the main difference.

Let’s work backwards and start with the smaller devices.

The smartphone and the tablet

This is pretty easy, they are pretty much identical except for the tablet having a bigger screen. Because the tablet has a bigger screen it can fit more inside, a better CPU, a stronger GPU, better speaker, more RAM, and because of all this and its bigger display it needs a bigger battery to power it all.

Okay, that was easy, lets move up.

The tablet and the laptop

Okay, we’ve gotten a bigger screen, but now its a little heavier, I don’t want to hold this in my hands, okay lets just set it down somewhere… Lap seems a good place. I can move around, don't have to use a desk, and my laps are always there. Okay, convenient. One sec, now the screen is in a more awkward place to reach out and constantly tap on the screen because its lower down and further away. Let’s change the input up and maybe introduce a mouse and a keyboard that a nice distance away. And now because I don’t have to hold it, I can sit for longer periods and do more work.

The interface has to change because I’m not using my fingers anymore so I have to work around that. But it’s not a problem because my cursor is pretty precise so I can make the buttons smaller and fit more on the screen. We can fit more UI and make the programs more complex, win-win for everyone.

Ha, you think 15" is good enough for me? Try 27".

The laptop and the desktop

This is no way gonna fit on my lap so lets find a desk to put this on. I understand that I’m not as free as I was with the laptop but with bigger screen comes bigger happiness? Or something like that.

So now we’ve got a bigger screen, we’ve got a desk. Only problem is now its a little further away from our eyes and definitley out of hand reach. Doesn’t matter, we’ve got our mouse and keyboard from before and we can fit even more on the screen, so we can do even more complex things, and now we can sit for longer periods of time because we have a comfortable chair, but who cares because we can do more work.

We also are able to separate the guts from the screen because hey, its on a desk right? Okay so lets just fill it up with more power and more connections and why use a battery when we could just plug into the wall.

The screen size changes everything.

So lets fast forward in time and ask ourselves looking forward what the best screen we could get, “Is there any size that is better than the others, do we actually need all these different devices with different screen sizes?”

If they are all the same besides for their screen real estate why do we need all of them?

This is a great question and lets get into it in a second.

But first, seriously, why all the headache, just get one perfect screen size.

Does this even exist? Is there really something out there that can encompass all our needs from 3 inches all the way up to 100 inches and bigger?

I think it does… our eyes do a pretty good job of showing us all we need to see, so lets make a display that covers our entire field of view. Maybe in the form of glasses, or even contact lenses further down.

This reminds me of something, Augmented Reality (AR) and the glasses that we are starting to see coming out around us, Hololens, Magic Leap, Meta. Although they have very small FOV this will improve in the coming years and eventually be our entire field of vision.

So we’ve looked at what is the perfect screen size, and sure, in the age of the GUI we’re going to have to come up with novel ways for the interface of this massive screen and also new ways of interacting with this new world, and all that belongs to the exciting new field of AR which we’ll get into another time, but what we’re talking about plenty of similar devices that we use everyday, and I agree with you, I don’t think there is a need to have all of these devices if they’re essentially the same.

I think what we are going to see over the coming years is a so called implosion. Lets imagine all your gadgets floating around your head in the room right now, your iPhone, your MacBook, your projector, your kindle, your Apple Watch, your earphones, your iPad. Now this is the hard part to watch.. they are going to zoom into each other like atoms fusing and we are going to be left with this manic of a device floating up there with only one of everything, it looks really weird.

But if we can open our eyes quickly we’ll see this creature pull itself apart and all the little components will slowly drift down and settle in difference places on our body where they belong.

Welcome to the age of the Wearables ladies and gentlemen.