"Hey, isn't the idea of a cameraphone to have the luxury of leaving your big, fat digicam at home? With a smartphone, isn't the PDA supposed to be history? And doesn't that iPod belong in the circular file now that you've picked up that fancy musicphone? According to a newly released study by In-Stat, phones with extra goodness packed in aren't prompting their owners to leave other devices behind. In fact, over half of multimedia phone owners are still toting a dedicated MP3 player, some 75% of smartphone users lug a PDA as well, and a staggering 80% of cameraphone owners "regularly" carry their digital camera."
I find this interesting as apparently I'm one of those people for which my all-in-one phone *is* my all-in-one device. I don't own an iPod or any other MP3 player. The last one I had was one of the first Sony MP3 players. I also don't own a digital camera. I haven't had one for at least three years. And I don't own a separate PDA. The last one I had was a Handspring Visor Edge which my daughter now uses. What I *do* own is a Palm Treo 650 (GSM). It feeds me my phone calls and email. It acts as my MP3 player thanks to a 2GB SanDisk SD card and PocketTunes. And it acts as a my camera for those few times I need to take a picture.
Now, admittedly, I can totally understand why some people still have multiple devices. After all, while my Treo is an all-in-one device, it is so at the expense of the quality of each individual component. Namely, the camera resolution is a bit less than average. Yes, newer Treo's have been cameras, but compared to a nice Olympus or Canon... even the small, fit-in-your-shirt-pocket ones... the Treo's camera is sub-par. And the same can be said for its audio quality. I've listened to my oldest kid's iPod (he gets a new one every 6 months or so) and I can tell you that the comparison is like comparing HD audio from your cable company to an AM radio transmission. Its usable and definitely a good solution, but by no means the best MP3 audio device out there.
I guess it comes down to the normal "functionality versus quality" tradeoff. Everytime we buy a PC versus a Mac we make a similar decision in that you get more functionality in Windows due to the available software, but you get better quality with a Mac. But with 95% of the world running Windows, its a bit of a no-brainer to realize that most people go for functionality. However, there are the technical elite... the people that shun functionality for quality. These people would rather have a Mac, an iPod, a Canon rebel, and a RAZR... they would rather have multiple, separate, but high quality devices. But then there's people like myself who would rather just have a laptop (a Sony UX180P in my case) and a Treo.
In my case, I've evaluted many of the all-in-one devices out there... from the Nokia E62 to the Motorola Q to the Cingular 8125 to the latest smartphone from Samsung. In my case, I consider the Treo to be the best of breed of the all-in-one devices. So while I may not have the best of each individual device, I do have the best of the all-in-one devices. Of course, for me pocketability is an issue as well. And I don't mean pocketability in terms of size, but in terms of the number of available pockets. I only have four pockets in my jeans or khakis. My wallet is in one, my keys in another. That only leaves two remaining. I don't have room for an iPod, a camera, and a cellphone. So instead, I have a Treo that serves the functions of all three and only consumes one pocket.
Of course, my wife is my polar opposite when it comes to gadget goodies. She carries a RAZR, a Canon rebel, and an iPaq with her everywhere she goes. Of course, she has the benefit of a purse. Her needs are different too. When I use my Treo's camera, its for quick snapshots of error messages or a parking space, etc. She takes pictures of our four kids. And when she's on her RAZR, she likes to be able to look at and type on her iPaq. Basically, our needs are different and thus our quality versus functionality needs are different. And we have different "spatial needs" as I'm constrained to pockets while she has a purse. In the end, I guess some of us *need* an all-in-one device while others can only *live with* one while yet others need the separate and distinct devices.