The Condensation of Devices: Multiple devices doing each task perfectly, or a single device that does an okay job of multiple things?

Over the last, oh, I’d say 10 years or so, we’ve gotten to a point where we condense everything down to a single device if we can. Our cell phones are our music players, our readers, our camera, and our way of interacting with everyone and sharing these photos (which makes sense given that they’re a phone – but I’m talking about social media here). But is this the best option? Up until last year I still used an iPod Classic for the majority of my music, and that’s because that was a dedicated device built specifically for music, it stored a ton, and worked perfectly. There was never any question whether it was going to play or not, if I didn’t have cell service I still had access to my entire music library without worry on a road trip. Now, while phone storage is becoming increasingly larger, storing music locally is becoming a thing of the past thanks to services like Spotify, and Apple Music (full disclosure I am also an Apple Music subscriber, though I prefer having everything stored locally). This begs the question though, our phones aren’t the best method of playing music – storage is limited, Apple for example is making it increasingly more difficult to sync music to your phone via USB, wouldn’t you rather have a dedicated device meant solely for playing your music library? It performed that one task very well, and that was all it did? I know I can’t be alone in that mindset as Sony still makes the dedicated music player, with a throwback name, the Walkman.

It does a single task – plays music. And it does a fantastic job with it. I’ve had this for a little over a year and absolutely love it as an iPod replacement.

This isn’t the only device we’ve done this with however, remember eReaders? I have, (and still use from time to time) a Sony PRS-505

Sure – the ereader is still around, there’s still a version of the Barnes and Noble Nook that’s an epaper display and not a Samsung Tablet running Nook OS. Amazon still makes the Kindle Paperwhite, and Kobo is still booming overseas – in fact they took on support for the Sony Readers when Sony discontinued support for the product in late 2014. When I got this reader in 2007, I used it for virtually everything through school – I’d scan my notes to PDF, and upload them to this so I could carry all the previous days notes without the worry of crumpling and shredding the papers, or losing them, knowing how disorganized I used to be… okay… kind of still am, but am a lot better than I used to be. As time went on though, while they’re still big in some markets, we moved to other devices, Apple launched the iPad at a price that the average consumer could afford, and suddenly the tablet market had taken off, leaving eReaders (as a standalone device at least) seemingly into the dust.

I could get into GPS devices as well, however those are still alive in kicking for people that tend to trek to places where there just isn’t cell reception – I love a trip to the mountains to go hiking, and fishing, so that’s when I have the offline maps ready!

Now, I’m not suggesting anyone dust off the old Palm Pilot for an address book and something to quickly jot down notes, to break out their pagers for a text, and bring around the “Zoolander” phone to make a call, these are some areas that the average Smartphone OS has definitely improved, but when you’re using your sole Android or iOS device, you have to feel like there are features missing from the music player, or eReader? Sure, the GPS with Google Maps has gotten significantly better when it comes to offline maps, but it still doesn’t compare to having one dedicated GPS device. When you’re traveling, or listen to a lot of music, the storage for tunes is drastically missing in the modern cell phone – I have over 100gb of music on my computer, how in the world am I going to put that on my phone with the sheer volume of photos I take?

Just ask yourself though, would you rather carry around a few devices that do many things perfectly? Or would you rather carry around one device that does a bunch of things in an okay way, and you can live with? Me, I’ll take a few devices doing things perfectly, especially when it comes to music players – while I don’t read a lot, I do listen to a TON of music and podcasts, and having a device that I can simply dedicate to that purpose not only saves valuable storage space on my device, but also helps stretch the battery of my phone to obscene amounts! Sure it’s one more thing to forget when you’re walking out the door in the morning, but if I forget it, that’s why I have Apple Music… as a backup! (Oh… and to use on the Echo)

 

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