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All-in-one gadgets: Let the dream die

Zack Stern

Business Week covers DoCoMo's plans for an all-in-one product that fills tech needs for everyone. The phone company insists that a handset with GPS, music, web, gaming, and other features is needed because there's no single killer app for customers; DoCoMo has to design broad devices so that certain features will replace all of the gadgets for specific users.

The all-in-one device was a nice dream, but we don't think it'll ever materialize. As the article mentions, designing for so many uses means that you can't design well for each individual application. A circular wheel might work well for scrolling through songs, but it's weak for traditional games.

Consoles walk a fine line between gaming machines and all-in-one devices. Even the Wii plays photos and MP3s (poorly). Are game companies trying for the all-in-one grail, or just grafting extra features onto a console to drive sales?

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