CONVERGENCE : Let's call the whole thing off?

in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014

I started this thread two days ago but killed the window before posting because I was bored. So today I cruise over to MacCentral and there's an <a href=""; target="_blank">interview</a> with Marc Andreesen (Netscape, Loud Cloud) that touches on the same subject here goes:

We've discussed Golden Convergence (hereafter referred to as "GC") here for as long as the forum's been up. GC is essentially the grand unification of computing, communications and entertainment electronics.

It seems like everybody in and out of the Valley have been working on a "set top" box for years now. These boxes try to combine various technologies like personal video recorders, stereos, video games, telephone stations, video conferencing and web terminals. There are all sorts of spins on these things but they're all the same sort of gizmos.

There have been rumors about Apple having such a device, and no doubt there's been R&D in that direction.

Andreessen's comments about the failure of convergence resonated with my own suspicions about GC. Basically, the idea seems to be there but the technology isn't ready.

Historically you can see examples of an industry "knowing where things are headed" just in time to have some young upstart technology do an end-run around the "acknowledged trend".

I just wonder if the manner in which GC will happen is like the experts tell us, or if there's something that nobody has considered that will surprise us all.

What do you think?


[ 06-14-2002: Message edited by: drewprops ]</p>


  • Reply 1 of 9
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,268member
    GC is one of the many overhyped Myths that is dying on the vine just like Push Technology, Component or Object Based OS', the Web Browser as a Platform, etc

    MPAA/RIAA lack the vision to actually converge their products to the consumers liking. Business is about controlling markets and GC throws alot of competing Control Freak companies into one room and expects them to play nice. Where is the precedent? It simply hasn't been done to this day.
  • Reply 2 of 9
    nathan22tnathan22t Posts: 317member
    [quote]Originally posted by drewprops:

    <strong>There have been rumors about Apple having such a device, and no doubt there's been R&D in that direction.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    I would say there is a high degree of doubt in this area. A set-top anything is probably going to be set atop a TV, something Steve is not too keen about. A set-top box would make the TV your digital hub. The PC is the optimal digital hub in Apple's view. The only converging that will be happening anytime soon, is the convergence of digital lifestyle devices around your Mac.
  • Reply 3 of 9
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    [quote]Originally posted by drewprops:

    <strong>There have been rumors about Apple having such a device, and no doubt there's been R&D in that direction.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    There was a set top box from apple, but the contract with French cable companies broke, I think. It was in 1994 and the box was based off a PowerBook 500.

    If they do a second attempt with this, people will request a second attempt with Newton too. And it's not unlikely both will fail, again.
  • Reply 4 of 9
    penheadpenhead Posts: 45member
    Allright. Call it off if your want to: There wont be a stereo from sony that runs windows and can record videos and answer your phone.

    What a lot of people don't seem to realize is that there is a *PC* from Sony that plays CDs, records videos, answers your phone and runs windows. Theres one from Apple as well, but that one doesnt run windows, or so i hear

    Let's be serious. Convergence is still big. Look at the ipod - an mp3 player that keeps track of appointments and stores your backup data. That's three in one!

    While we're at it, lets check out the latest from Handspring: the Treos. PDAs with keyboards that also double as a mobile phone. Extremely useful, and as with the iPod it does away with yet another thing to keep in your pocket.

    In Europe we are on the way to electronic payments via SMS and mobile systems. Theres another convergence: old tech and new. Now your credit card is your gsm card that sits neatly inside your PDA and listens to mp3s.

    Convergence just didnt give us what we thought. There was never a "black box" because somebody realized that they had a beige one sitting right in front of them


    [ 06-14-2002: Message edited by: penhead ]</p>
  • Reply 5 of 9
    The implementation is key - and the tech behind it is the snag. Most implmentations thusfar have been heavy-handed/inflexible, and flexibility is what's going to drive this market.

    I've read bits about a system that was either in development or released in part of Europe that seemed right on to me - it was called "Bricks" (as in Bricks Break Windows), and involved treating your media, and display/playback components as Bricks that could be snapped together for use. The entire system is Ethernet-based rather than Cable/DSL. Drag one of your movie bricks to your TV to watch it, or to the computer upstairs, etc.

    Apple is going to have a big hand in this market Stateside, as I think their Rendezvous tech. from Jaguar is right in line with this (or could be made to be). Defining an industry standard for these types of computer/appliance interactions, beyond turning the lights on and off, is that key of implmentation that would make it ubiquitous, and if they can pull it off, they'll have a nice hand to play.
  • Reply 6 of 9
    drewpropsdrewprops Posts: 2,321member
    See, the funny thing is, anytime you expect a company to be bringing something big to market you have to remind yourself that there'll be at LEAST one competitor running neck and neck with them. Nobody's got a clean shot to the goal.

    This happened a few years ago in the movie company is bringing out a sci-fi submarine thriller, so TWO other companies do it.

    Auto-manufacturers do it. Cola makers, Clothes makers...the list never ends.

    So when it comes to GC, I feel that Murch has it spot-on. The people who control the properties are embroiled in technological trench warfare, getting them to agree on simple formats is often insurmountable. Look at hi-def, look at DVD playback and recording formats, look at the bastardized CD-R formats.

    I've always agreed that Sony's the best one to lead the charge as they own ALL the parts to make it work. Unfortunately, as much as I've always LIKED Sony, I've grown to dislike them just as much. They implement proprietary standards, get you to invest in those standards, then change them. Built-in obsolescence isn't just alive and kicking, it's the NAME OF THE GAME at Sony.

    The iPod is a great convergence product, but so are the people that find them suited to their needs.

    I knew that Apple had experimented in set-top, and that that whole "pizza box" thread from ages ago touched on the same idea. But what I really glean from Andreesen's comments is that it will be a swarm of products like the iPods and handhelds which will compromise GC.

    Instead of one box in front of you, it's many boxes all around you....and the thing that I dread most is seeing Andy Ihnatko coming toward me four years from now....his utility belt bulging with beeping, flashing, blue-toothing things.

    A diversity of devices may indeed define the true Golden Convergence.

    And then again, who the Hell knows!


    spelling correction

    [ 06-14-2002: Message edited by: drewprops ]</p>
  • Reply 7 of 9
    frawgzfrawgz Posts: 547member
    Hasn't Golden Convergence been replaced with Digital Lifestyle/Digital Hub?

    Edit: Oops, I just read drewprops message. Seems I agree with him.

    [ 06-14-2002: Message edited by: frawgz ]</p>
  • Reply 8 of 9
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    Look at convergence like corporate world trends. There are years with consolidation of companies only to be followed by years of expansion/diversification of them. Convergence will come to some degree if it hasn't already. Then the market will fall apart again. Happened to IBM, happening to Microsoft. It all works in cycles and it's never a perfect process.
  • Reply 9 of 9
    drewpropsdrewprops Posts: 2,321member
    Well THAT all sorted itself out now DIDN'T it!!!

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