Sad rant about convergence / consolidation (was re: wearables)

Eirikur Hallgrimsson eh@mad.scientist.com
Fri, 4 Jan 2002 14:42:51 -0500


I think Jeff pegged-it in his first paragraph.  There's no incentive for 
manufacturers to increase integration.   You can't fight incentive unless you 
have a bigger incentive to offer.

I did have a flash, though.

If I was a asian contract-manufacturer, building this stuff for the private 
labels or non-integrated firms, I would invest a little design and 
documentation work in an open hardware platform.  Basically, I would
build the box that Jeff wants, with lot of connectors on the back, an 
Ethernet port, and the guts would be a CPU and some standard 
DSPs.  

I'm talking about making an attractive target for software.  This worked (not 
by accident) for IBM with the PC.

Then "integration" firms can appear who resell the hardware loaded with a 
particular firmware package.   Hackers can buy the box naked.

OOkay, so what it would really be is a PC with DSP, in a stackable stereo 
form-factor.   The (replaceable) UI runs on a real PC with a display.)

Obvious problems: Pressure from my big customers, strangeness/fear-factor for 
consumers.   Technology may move so quickly that the device has to be 
expandable and upgradeable, making it too expensive compared with dedicated 
boxes.   It could end up eventually outselling any one dedicated box, though.

Eirikur