While the announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) have been coming fast and furious, kicking up a cloud of “information dust,” as the dust settles it will become clear that the much-prophesied era of convergence is finally about to dawn. The original vision for convergence had TVs, computers, and the Internet coming together to enable interactive blending of content and functionality. A funny thing happened along the way – mobile phones entered the picture and in fact occupied much mindshare at the CES this year. The new convergence isn’t just about technologies; it is, in effect, the coming together of digital content, technology, and lifestyles where players such as Microsoft, Yahoo!, Google, Verizon, and Intel, to name a few, are increasingly looking at content as a key part of the rocket fuel that can propel them to success. Yahoo! announced its Yahoo! Go Mobile and Go TV, which bring its services to mobile phones and PC-attached TVs, while Google and Motorola announced new phones with “Google search” buttons. Intel announced new chips that are designed to handle multimedia, while Microsoft touted its upcoming Vista operating system as an entertainment hub. All leverage content and technology to integrate these players into our lives.
Outsell's Marc Strohlein notes that beneath the noise, the underlying theme of these announcements is that content and technology are moving ever closer together, and also that the idea of dedicated devices such as phones, TVs, and computers is about to become a quaint notion. The “teleputerphone” is here, and these vendors seek to dominate every facet of its being. While big things are in the offing, we would be remiss if we did not remind our readers that these companies are all operating in classic engineering-driven mode, so the full realization of true device/content/lifestyle integration is probably still a ways off, except for geeks and early adopters. That said, content providers need to be in full “innovate” mode to be ready when these solutions mature - the world is moving too fast to wait until they finish baking.