Technology (r)evolution

March 7th, 2019

There was a time, just eight short years ago, when so-called tech pundits argued, vociferously and tirelessly, that a 3.5″ size is the perfect one for all-screen phones, and anything above that is a wrong industrial design decision that can only come from throwing ideas against a wall and seeing what sticks. Thing is, the billion or so consumers of smartphones have spoken strong, and these days one would be hard-pressed to find a decent flagship that is under 5″.

Here’s another thought. It’s easy to dismiss certain explorations in consumer electronics these days, especially a few years after the fact. One can write articles after articles that disparage every single device out there (apart from those made by your favorite company, of course), and build a reputation of being a fearless, analytical mind. Every once in a while you might also throw in random concept “designs” that show your own ideal hardware assemblage, no matter how infeasible some details might be from the hardware perspective. No worries, it’s the pretty pictures that count.

And then, a few short months later you get to write another article or two after seeing the next wave of flagships that are, apparently, “disappointing” because they didn’t quite match that fairytale concept that was shared in your circles, building up the anticipation to something that was never quite promised by the companies that are right there, in the middle of actually doing things.

Every once in a while you also get to link back to what you wrote some time ago, and pride yourself on being the astute judge of a certain piece of exploration. “You see,” you humbly write to the adoring masses, “I was quite right back then when I said that it would not go anywhere“. No matter that you had no real skin in the game. No matter that you take the anecdote of your own reaction and misinterpret it as an unmistakable sign of your deep acumen. “If only they listened to me back then” you sigh contentedly, leaning in to type yet another click-baity “opinion” piece about the first iteration of a brand new thing that is not quite up to your “visionary” standards. “But what is the job that this accomplishes?” cry you, with a satisfied smirk on your face. You know that if you don’t see one, it surely must be quite pointless to bring that device to market.

Evolution of technology in general, and of devices in particular, is not a straight path. It’s not even a path per se. It’s a patchwork of exploring weird ideas that might not lead you anywhere, back-tracking to revisit what was once infeasible but may now be quite within your reach, and not being afraid to put all kinds of ideas out there for the world of consumers at large to sample, try and, ultimately, vote with their wallets on.