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Jupiter Media Forum: Digital devices ready to go

By Scarlet Pruitt, IDG News Service\Boston Bureau

(IDG) -- Welcome to the age of "digital ubiquity." Soon consumers will have digital devices pressed against their ears, jangling in their pockets, carried in their bags, and littered about their homes. At least that's the view presented by one analyst speaking at Jupiter Media Metrix Inc.'s Media Forum in New York last week, who argued that the lack of new, compelling PC applications will turn the spotlight on digital devices.

"Over the next few months we will see devices with any combination of features, such as digital cameras and MP3 players," said Jupiter Research Director Michael Gartenberg. Eventually, most people won't carry more than three devices, Gartenberg said, and the kind of devices they carry will be dependent on what users want. INFOCENTER
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According to the analyst, PC growth has been stunted by a lack of new and exciting applications, and faster processing speeds are not reason enough for the average user to buy a new computer.

"For the average human being, fast hit fast enough a few years ago," Gartenberg said.

This leaves room for digital devices to take hold. Gartenberg foresees a future where consumers will have multiple information devices boasting Web and application services with both wireless and wired connectivity.

"Devices represent a very important piece of the action, but the second part is connectivity," Gartenberg said. He believes that vendors need to simplify connectivity, however, saying that incompatible standards and complicated setup procedures have deterred users from widely adopting many products.

"Consumers don't want to be network managers in their own homes," Gartenberg said.

The analyst predicted that there would be two networks in consumer homes, one "utilitarian" network with broadband, for Internet surfing, e-mail and other business applications, and one that connects users' TVs and media devices and provides media storage and sharing along with related applications.

Gartenberg also predicted a platform shift to Web-enabled architecture and subscription-based software applications.

"What's the killer app of digital ubiquity?' he asked. "The ubiquity itself."



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