Itâ€™s part of the â€˜the PDA is dead, long live the mobile connected device' ethos to believe the one handheld device can meet an individualâ€™s needs all the time.
The â€˜one size fits allâ€™ approach is something that a lot of hardware vendors try to sell us, but in my experience nobody is anywhere near the right ballpark yet, let alone within shooting distance of the hoop. Indeed, the more time I spend as a mobile worker and mobile consumer, the more convinced I get that the very notion itself is fundamentally flawed.
Itâ€™s not that I donâ€™t wish for a sonic screwdriver of functionality wrapped up in a Tardis like device. But letâ€™s be clear about one thing: Dr Who is a fictional character and I donâ€™t think sonic screwdrivers are on sale in Dixons - DSG probably canâ€™t make enough margin on them yet (ed).
I recently read some research from silicon.com, which presented some scary figures about the number of odds and ends we carry around. The research assessed the number of electronic devices â€“ including laptops â€“ that people â€˜regularly carryâ€™. The statistics, culled from the report are as follows:
* Goodness knows what the missing 4.68 percent responded to the survey!
Now, I donâ€™t know how many people were questioned, or who these people were, but the results do seem pretty fair if I take my own anecdotal experience into account. And in the short term at least, I donâ€™t expect to start carrying less mobile kit.
In fact I currently carry more, not less, than I did 18 months ago, and thatâ€™s a direct result of the fact that I can be more productive out of the office thanks to technology, but that I need more â€˜stuffâ€™ to enable this.
A weekend break or short holiday
Gadget count = 5 or 6
- Phone. My Windows smartphone â€˜cause thatâ€™s got my diary, calendar and contact list on it, some navigation software, and er, some games I am rather enjoying at the moment. I can also browse the Web directly from it. If I want to use the navigation software Iâ€™ll need the GPS antenna too.
- Another phone. I know, I know, but the software running on my Treo 600 (an application called Aileron from Corsoft) is superb for picking up email, though these days I donâ€™t use the Treo for much else.
- PDA. Well, of course. Possibly my connected XDA IIs but maybe, as I have a Bluetooth smartphone, my unconnected Loox 720. I prefer the high resolution screen of the latter for ebook reading, but the former is better for Web browsing as its integrated SIM negates the need to make a Bluetooth connection to my phone. I will only carry one PDA, so a decision needs to be made.
- Digital camera. Cue Canon Digital Ixus 500
- Music player. A flash based player if I have time to copy some tracks across, if not, my trusty old Creative Nomad Zen (20GB HD crammed to the gills).
A long holiday
Gadget count = 6 or 7
As above but with a PDA keyboard â€˜cause I just canâ€™t resist writing things down. The Stowaway Bluetooth from ThinkOutside is the best Iâ€™ve found by a considerable margin.
A working short break
Gadget count = up to 8
Probably the same as the weekend break list, plus kit to meet the need to produce text. Either my trusty Psion 7 which I love because of its great battery life and small size compared to a laptop, or if I need to file copy from afar either a laptop and 3G data card or the PDA which was in the bag anyway with the Stowaway Bluetooth keyboard again.
A day or night out
Gadget count = 1 or 2
Probably just the phone here, but definitely a smartphone, with a little music or an ebook at the ready for the hour or so of travel Iâ€™ll probably do. Maybe also a PDA depending on various factors.