I’m allowing myself one technology post every few months. Please excuse the non-marketing content.
Portable electronic devices, including music players, laptops, phones and smartphones, tablets and e-books, are becoming the every day norm. Most people own at least two of these devices and are thinking of buying another within the next 6 months. Have you ever wondered why they’ve become so popular recently?
Back in the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s, all of the above mentioned devices existed. Music players were Sony Walkmans, Laptops were Toshiba T1100s, phones were Motorola DynaTAC 8000X “brickphones”, and tablets were Microsoft Tablet PCs. But what was the one major annoyance that kept many of these first-of-its-kind devices from becoming mainstream? Its weight and size, and overall portability. Battery life played a role in its popularity. In the early days, the battery played a significant role in the functionality and weight of these devices. Not until battery technology advanced to a breaking point that these devices could exist.
Would you buy a mobile phone today if it only lasted 1 hour of talk time? Probably not. The manufacturers of these devices knew they had to have a certain amount of battery life, thus, the battery had to be larger. But because these devices were marketed at portable, they couldn’t weigh too much to not be functional. How long can you hold a 1 pound device to you ear for?
Only until the 21st century, could devices become truely portable. Laptops now have 8 hours of battery life without weighing more than the electronics and casement. Mobile phones can easily fit in a childs pocket with 5 days of standby time. One could argue that advancements in energy saving electronics is also key and I would argue for this as well, but the advancements in battery technology has jumped leaps and bounds over the last few years.
What does the future hold? A bright one indeed. Where music devices are held within the earphones themselves. Where laptops with full keyboards can fit in your pocket (that depends on if keyboards survive the onslought of the touchscreen). Where mobile phones are flexible and moulded to fit around your wrist. Who knows!