In an otherwise dry interview with Mark Andreessen, the wunderkind of browser fame slips in a not-so-subtle dig about his particular views on converged devices and the mobile browser experience. I happen to agree with what he has to say…
Interviewer: What about the wireless Internet based on cellular data services?
MA: Cell phone data is a complete market failure in the U.S. because the user experience is deeply inferior to what you do with a browser on the PC or even a handheld. Cell phone browsers based on [Wireless Application Protocol] just make you want to cry.
Interviewer: You’re not a fan of converged devices?
There will be multiple devices [for each user], and wireless networking will enable that kind of diversity.
When I first went to a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant, they’d give you a spork – something that was half-spoon and half-fork. And I thought, ‘why don’t we have this at home?’ And here’s why: because what you actually want is to have a good fork and a good spoon. And the spork is neither.
The multipurpose device will always fail.
I am both a passionate gadgeteer and a firm believer that the universal do-everything device will not work when you think hard about what it really requires [more on that in a future blog] to combine PIM, phone, and data in a single form factor. I am a much bigger believer in the “degraded” capability model for converged devices.