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November 03, 2006

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Sheesh, Kenny, you're making me look like a fawning toady here, since I UTTERLY AGREE that convergence and divergence are words used by device manufacturers. Consumers use different words: either "ho-hum", or ZOMG I WANT THAT!!! As you say, it's really just a simple question that's really, really hard to answer: "what do consumers want?"

As a nerd, my desire is that the bits of hardware will diverge (because I think it would be cool to have a computer in my pocket that's just a ruggedized, waterproof brick with two charging points), and then a separate display, keyboard, and headset. One set of interface devices for walking around, one for sitting at my desk. And I can upgrade my headphones without having to port all my contacts into a new phone. Of course, the Sixth Grade Hiptop Kiddies may totally take things in a different direction, with their muscular thumbs and their desire to AIM each other when in the line at Dairy Queen.

So the hardware is divergent, but the activities are convergent: Phone calls? Listen to music? Talk to friends? Sure, whatever. My own adoption of these devices will depend on how well they align with what I'm already doing, and (rarely, but powerfully) whether they enable to me to do something new that I want to do.

I will say this, though -- when the cellphone with the heads-up monocle display comes out, I'm *totally* going to go to Venice and jump around saying "sell that! SELL IT!"

Convergence and divergence are technical terms about the communciations platform. The real question here is what do consumers really want and need? The answer has long been the same -- they need time and money.
So, we need liquid media that can flow to the places where they have time to consume it (and we need to do a better job of finding the time openings in their busy days.) As for the money, that's why ad sponsored media has worked for so long -- they prefer free entertainment and will indulge advertising to save money. As time because more precious (with many more ways to spend time), we'll need advertising that is good enough that they won't spend money to eliminate it.

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