Thursday, July 27, 2006

Cable Tangle

Need Freedom from mushrooming cables and connectors.

As mobile devices proliferate, so is the need to carry plethora of cables and connectors

Recently, I encountered a problem that many you might relate to. After a long day, I reached my car in the Chennai Airport parking lot and dipped my hand in to the backpack to retrieve my car key. You guessed it right, I couldn't find the key.. It had 'hidden' under the maze of cables and chargers. I had to literally empty my backpack on to the sidewalk to find the lonely key.

Cable Tangle
Stuff dumped on the road to find the key

That's when it stuck me, why am I carrying all that stuff.. A quick inventory made me realize that I need all of that stuff for my laptop, mobile phone, digital camera and MP3 player. Then I started wondering, if there can be standardization across the globe on telephone and electrical outlets , why not some standardization between various mobile devices?

Basically, the problem areas relates to three things: 1)Battery, 2)Charger & 3)connector. The are fundamentally different for each mobile device / manufacturer.

Battery: There is almost no commonality on this between the manufacturers on this front. I do realize that many companies use this as a differentiator in the market space, but wonder if the over all size and some parameters can be standardized. With in the broad guidelines, manufactures can do their stuff to differentiate. After all, we already have some commonality with AA, AAA, C & D batteries.

Chargers: While some devices allow you to charge via laptop, I find myself carrying separate chargers for each device just in case. It would be nice if I can carry just one charger and be able to 'plug N play' with all the gadgets in my backpack.

Added to this, backward compatibility is a problem as well. I recently bought a Nokia phone just so that I could use it with the chargers that are already in place at several vantage places at home, work etc., Alas, my new Nokia phone wouldn't work with the 'old' Nokia charger.

Connectors: While there is some standardization on connectors for with the advent of USB, some highly popular devices like iPod still uses a proprietary connector.

From a business perspective, accessories may be high margin business for companies but what consumers want is fewer of them.

What do you think?