Personal tech obsession: The quest for the next big... whatever

Mobile technology has become so personal that figuring out the Next Big Thing is an obsession for many. A nice obsession to know what's coming and how it may improve our lives.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor

Mobile technology is now touching all of our lives, in ways that are both profound and very personal. We use it to communicate, earn a living, socialize, and keep informed about -- mobile tech. Keeping up with the Next Big Thing in mobile tech is an obsession that now touches many, not just geeks. No matter how happy we are with the gear and technology that runs it, we are determined to find out what is coming that is even bigger and better. It's as if we are running in place, because the finish line keeps moving.

See also:

2012 Mobile state of the union: Part 1 of 3: Smartphones

2012 Mobile state of the union: Part 2 of 3: Tablets

2012 Mobile state of the union: Part 3 of 3: Notebooks

2012: Year of the Ultrabook

Back in the day only a few geeky folks kept up with mobile tech, mainly because not many people knew much about it. Those of us who followed it with enthusiasm did so out of a belief that evolution in mobile tech would be so big it would change the world. Turns out we were right, and as far as mobile tech has come in the last ten years it's still got a long way to go. It's a good time to be a mobile tech geek.

The separate technologies of phones and computers have advanced separately over the past decade, and it's interesting how they are now merging. The line between computer and phone has blurred as the smartphone has grown so powerful and the computer has grown smaller. The smartphone and computer now have a lot in common, and touch almost everyone's lives in significant ways.

The advances in personal technology, which is a more fitting term than mobile technology, have created tools that are ingrained in most everyone's lives. Whether it is a phone, laptop, or tablet is immaterial, as they are all used in very similar ways. The exact use varies from one person to another, which is what makes personal tech so obsessive for many. Having experienced how profoundly the technology affects us is fuel for the burning desire to know what may be coming down the pike that may be even better.

This mania to find the Next Big Thing in personal tech is the result of seeing game-changing gadgets appear over the years that keep proving there is always something better around the corner. From the Palm Pilot, which seriously kicked off handheld computing, to Windows Mobile phones which gave a hint of the utility smartphones could give, we have seen first-hand what significant advances can bring. The BlackBerry showed us the benefits of instant textual communication, the forebear of both instant messenging and the importance email would take in our lives.

The early pen computers, Tablet PC included, opened our minds to the possibility that computers could take alternate forms than the tower desktop computers we all used. This helped propel the advance of the laptop computer, which brought that desktop power to a single device.

As personal gadgets have gotten smaller and more powerful, they have assumed bigger roles in not only our professional lives but more importantly our personal lives. This leads to the technology taking on a personal relationship with us that resonates through everything we do. That is aided by the simplification of the technology to a point that everyone can use it with no training.

The greater a role gadgets fill in our lives, the stronger we feel about what might be coming that can do even more. The personal nature of the technology is a direct result of gadgets/platforms getting so simple anyone can use them, and so multi-purpose in nature they fill many roles.

Who knows exactly what direction personal tech will take in the near future, or what forms it will assume? All we can be sure of is it will affect us greatly, and play an even bigger role in the evolution of society than it does today. The only thing certain about the Next Big Thing is it will be smaller than ever. We'll know it when we see it, and we'll be as excited as kids on Christmas morning.

Image credit: Flickr user marc falardeau

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