Special purpose devices — is there a future for them?

My wife and I recently won a Kobo reader at a fund raiser bowling event (yes, bowling — a real sport in some parts of the world). My wife is a regular user of a reader having had the Sony reader for some time, but lost it recently on a family trip we took (one of our kids lost his passport as well, it went to Albuquerque somehow, we got it back thanks to  a dedicated airline employee). They are both great devices for what they do, but surely having such a single purpose device can’t be the way of the future?

We also have an iPad, which has great reading software, but so far not the best coverage of e-books. My wife has an iPhone as well which serves multiple purposes, but she does have a Nano as well for running. How many devices can we all manage at one time? I’m convinced that we’ll continue to see convergence and that the upcoming generation will have only the one device, likely with the root functionality being phone (from an ergonomics perspective). The one device will replace most of what is typically in a wallet (can’t replace what’s in a purse though), it should easily be able to be a video and camera, internet access — no problem, reader — why not, perhaps bigger screen is an issue for some, but it won’t be long before they can dock easily into any stationary screen nearby (like back of airplane seat), maybe even project if we can figure out more efficient illumination technology (and battery).

One device would certainly be nice, it’s so hard to track where they all are when you go somewhere as a group. It’s hard to remember to battery charge everything (and take all the different chargers), keeping them all sync’d — one device please. Convergence must happen to keep us all sane. The trip through the tech museum 25 years from now will be a wonder of devices, all for specific purposes, all from businesses that probably won’t exist anymore.

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