// what do you think?


The Death of the Single Function Device?

I went and saw Despicable Me with the kids this weekend. (It’s so fluffy!!)

Given the fact that I already hate commercials before the movies that aren’t previews to other movies I was instantly skeptical of a commercial for a new product and had to wonder if it was obsolete the minute it launched.

Introducing the V.Reader! A single function kids reader that seems a lot like the LeapFrog devices some of you may be familiar with.

My first thought was that an app on the iPad could do pretty much everything the V.Reader could. What’s the point? I guess if you didn’t want your kids playing with your iPad and it is only $60, but an app would be significantly cheaper.

Of course dedicated eBook readers seem to be doing okay and I’m even seriously considering getting one.

My second thought after wondering if this product was doomed from launch was that:

Dedicated single function devices need to be hackable .

I thought of the Roomba and the huge hacker/robotics community that’s sprung up around this device.

Last week I posted a video that mentioned that kids don’t use watches anymore because they’re single function devices only to have Marshall Kirkpatrick over at Read Write Web post later that daythat Fossils plan to turn the obsolete wrist watch into a platform for developers. I already want one.

A quick search revealed that even the Kindle is getting some interest among the hacker community.

The hacker urge in us runs deep. It may to just customize the look or full on replace the OS, or engine or drop the guts in something else but to me this seems like the only reason to get a single function tech device anymore.

I don’t know if I have the answer to the question I posed in my title but I do know that if I were building a device today I would really make sure that it was instantly hackable.

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About Tac

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.

  • http://topsy.com/www.newcommbiz.com/the-death-of-the-single-function-device/?utm_source=pingback&utm_campaign=L2 Tweets that mention The Death of the Single Function Device? — Topsy.com

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by chrispirillo, Craig M. Jamieson and others. Craig M. Jamieson said: Via @tacanderson The Death of the Single Function Device?: I went and saw Despicable Me with the kids this weekend… http://bit.ly/bWNi31 [...]

  • http://twitter.com/DanaLHopkins Dana L Hopkins

    I agree that companies who are producing new products need to consider the use of the product beyond the original design. Enabling “hacking” provides that the initial product will have a life after production and continue to add value (real or perceived) to the user.

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com tacanderson

    It also seems like the easiest way to do product dev and R&D, let your
    customers do it for you. That's basically what Twitter did, built a
    product and based it's new features on how the community used the

  • http://www.neunetz.com/2010/07/13/lesenswerte-artikel-13-juli-2010/ Lesenswerte Artikel 13. Juli 2010

    [...] The Death of the Single Function Device? [...]

  • http://www.sharelomer.com SharelOmer

    Hi Pal,
    As Einstein said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” (great simplicity quotes are here:http://www.quotegarden.com/simplicity.html )

    So i agree, we need to make things simple and hackable, but sits extremely hard to decide what NOT to add….

    Thanks for the great movie clips :)

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com/why-doesnt-the-kindle-play-music/ Why Doesn’t the Kindle Play Music? | New Comm Biz

    [...] I realize that this becomes a slippery slope that effects the purity of the single function device but I’ve already questioned the long term value of single function devices. [...]

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