Those who preach convergence have largely seen their predictions unmet, with gaming, emailing and channel surfing still done via separate products.
This month, though, mobile media is leading a renewed convergence charge with the launch of two devices.
Nokia’s N-Gage combines a game system, cellular phone and MP3 player into one device. The Finnish mobile phone maker is reported to have spent $100 million developing the N-Gage, which is aimed at teens and young adults who tend to be hardcore gamers and regular cell phone users. N-Gage also allows players to compete wirelessly when in close proximity to each other.
Startup company Tapwave, meanwhile, is targeting young professionals with its Zodiac, which combines a Palm Pilot, game system and music and media player. It even plays video clips and allows for instant messaging.
But both devices lack significant content as yet, offering only several games and hefty prices — $299 for N-Gage and $399 for Zodiac — which means users will have to pay more to get more.
Nonetheless, with Sony’s next-generation PSX — which combines a vidgame console, digital video recorder, TV tuner and more — not available until next year, mobile devices have gained an edge in the convergence race.