2010 : The Only Year of the E-Reader is a post on Kit Eaton’s blog at Fast Company.  He argues that the days (well, years) of the e-reader are nearly through, because the multi-function tablet seems to be coming into its own.

I agree, but will take it a step further:  we are in a period of technological convergence.  Our cell phones are cameras, organizers, and many things once reserved for the realm of computers (such as web browsers and e-mail software).  Products like the iPhone, Droid, and Nexus have shown what can be done in a small form factor.

Take things a few steps further, and there is no reason that future devices won’t have larger screens (folding? flexible?) that will serve well as e-readers.  In fact, one can keep adding software functionality and see that these will be primarily limited by our ability to interact with them.  The best smartphone keyboards only approximate what we can do with a standard keyboard, and I suspect that fixing that problem will be a quantum leap for users.

I expect this convergence to continue, until we will be carrying our computers on our hips and simply connecting to whatever networks and user devices we need at a particular location.  This is a common thing for web browsing and e-mail, watch for it with other functionality.  And yes, the “cloud” will play a big part (even though we are currently seeing a backlash against it).

When this day (year) arrives, will libraries be ready to integrate these new behaviors into our routines?  Will we see “reference as a service” or location based offerings become part of our forte?  I suspect that it will be like many current library technologies… we will get there eventually, with some leading the way.

found via Bobbi L. Newman at Library by Day

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