There aren’t many more possible physical formats left for mobile gadget makers to cover. At least not in terms of size.

You can buy watch-like digital devices with one inch screens and giant wall projectors able to display images that are many metres high. Almost every imaginable screen size in between is catered for by one gadget or another. Along the way are small smartphones, medium ones and giant-sized phones. There a mini-tablets, standard tablets and big tablets. Laptop screens run from less than 10 inches to more than 18. Desktop displays go up to 36 inches, wall-mounted displays can be 60 inches – there are even bigger ones.

Most, but not all, digital gadgets can capture and show images – both moving pictures and stills. Many devices have microphones and speakers to record and play sound. They can connect to the internet. They can send data to the cloud and retrieve it.

Sure they do these things with a varying degree of success. There are highlights: displays with pixels packed so tightly the human eye can’t detect individual spots are no longer a luxury. Fabulous high-resolution cameras and remarkably good sounding built-in speakers are not hard to find. My latest phone even includes image stablisation technology.

And, for the most part, these items are affordable. At least they are within the financial reach of ordinary people.

Innovation is far from dead. This year saw the arrival of practical technology to turn a smartphone into a mobile wallet. No doubt there fresh ways to package digital devices will emerge with time, but for now just about every conceivable niche is occupied.

6 thoughts on “Mobile devices: Mind the gap

  1. Every flat rectangle screen size is basically been done 😉 Don’t count out glasses, mind control, embedded organic devices with audio/vibrational feedback…

    • That’s right – as far as mobile devices are concerned. I’m not so sure about PCs – but then if they’re not outnumbered yet by gadgets, they soon will be.

  2. I always expected computers would appear that could, if not understand human speech, at least manage to deal with it. In essence they could do away with screens and keyboards altogether and fit into lapel badge-like packages similar to the iPod nano. Siri hinted that this was getting nearer, but it still hasn’t happened.

    • Siri hinted at nothing; Nuance did it before them. I think the major progress has been with Google Now and its prediction and contextual algorithms. Making computers think like us is by far the hardest thing we have tried to do.

  3. Everything has been invented. We should shut down the patent office.

    No, really, we should.

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