There is a beautiful tech utopia where all the devices are compatible, all the networks are interoperable and the quality of service is always above average. It may not be quite what Garrison Keillor envisioned, but it’s been the grand pipe dream of techies for more than a decade. Of course, silly things keep getting in the way – like companies that want to protect their investments. But in the meantime, people keep coming up with Rube Goldberg inventions to keep the promise of convergence alive.
I was reminded of this earlier in the week with the news out about how the Slingbox can be used to stream your iTunes content to a mobile phone. It’s the craziest thing. You stream stuff in iTunes to your TV set via Apple TV, and then sling that content to your mobile phone via a Slingbox. Holy hodgepodge, Batman!
It will take a dedicated geek to go to the trouble of linking two devices (PC and phone) via an Apple TV and a Slingbox. But that’s almost beside the point. The fact is, this process should work, and in a very roundabout way it delivers today (or very soon) what we’re ultimately aiming for with convergence.
Sling isn’t the only company delivering an intermediate step. There are many, many examples of this over the last few years. I have an HD Pinnacle Pro Stick that turns my laptop into an HDTV and DVR. I also have an old Motorola product called the SD4500 that lets me access my cell phone (incoming/outgoing calls and contact list) on all of the cordless phone handsets in my house. These products let me do the things that I (a certified geek) want to do today. Elegance (not to mention mass adoption) will have to come later.