Converging on the ridiculous

In recent years, media and their respective ‘mediums’ have converged. Mobile phones have evolved into devices capable of performing multiple tasks that were previously (in the not-too-distant-past) considered impossible.

Discussions with my peers have brought me to the conclusion that the mobile phone is no longer purely a communicative device. It’s a book, a distraction, a gaming console, a mirror, a television, an email inbox, a jukebox…the list goes on.

No longer purely a device to communicate important messages, the mobile phone now also functions as a social tool…but not in the way you might think. In 2011, The Pew Research Centre conducted a project to reveal how Americans really use their mobile devices. Unsurprisingly it was found that “Cell phones can help stave off boredom”, with 42% of those surveyed using a mobile for entertainment when they were bored.

But the thing I found most interesting about mobile phone usage, is the role it played in social interactions without even having to be turned on. “13% of cell owners pretended to be using their phone in order to avoid interacting with the people around them” – lets be real, we’ve all done it.

I am a member of generation Y – the last generation in my opinion to live on either side of the technological age we call ‘convergence’. I got my first mobile in my early teenage years, a hand-me-down Sony Ericsson that could call and SMS. I was happy with my humble device for years – only realising my need for an iPhone when I was given one (another hand-me-down). This point came up in a class discussion yesterday with one of my peers saying, “You don’t need one [an iPhone] until you’ve got one”, a quote that remained poignant with me for the rest of the day.

The features and capabilities that now come standard on nearly all phones are features that, despite being easily accessible on our many other converged devices, would be hard for us to go a day without.

The UK’s Daily Mail mentioned a study appointed by Nokia that reveals people check their phone for updates an average of 150 times each day. This figure is a real slap in the face – I wonder if I look at the people in my life as many times as I do my glowing little screen?

A few speculated coming attractions of mobile technology have been leaked by the International Business Times. The leaked features of the iPhone 6 are prime examples of convergence – one feature being a wireless charging system (something that Android technology has arguably boasted since 2007).

The inane ability of humans to come up with solutions to problems we never had will continue for years to come… So what’s next in mobile phone technology? Perhaps teleportation or a fold out iron attachment for a quick starch on the go? Maybe not, but my sarcasm hits close to home.

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