The economic meltdown seems to encourage new ideas to blossom up, making classical product borders less noticeable. I’m focusing on hardware technological products today, but this probably applies to all kind of products, even financial ones.
I’m going to show you a couple of interesting examples I saw in the last few days:
– Open Pandora, “Handheld Linux Console” : Some years ago somebody had the brilliant idea of creating a really small laptop, without a real old-style hard disk, and called it “net-books” (referring to notebooks + net support). Then we had PDA, net-books, and normal laptops. My small laptop (12″ screen) is still a laptop, but when I bought a Nokia 770 (theorically “Internet Tablet”, actually a PDA with Linux) it was just difficult to answer “what is it?” to not tech people. And now I’ve fallen in love with this “strong-PDA-like with keyboard in a Nintendo-DS structure made for playing games but which actually is a complete net-book with Linux”. Damn, I’ll need to memorize this description.
– OP-1 synthesizer and controller : In the old times, you hadn’t a lot of options to look for when thinking about creating electronic music. Basically a synthesizer. Then Yamaha created the Tenori–On. And now I stared my eyes on this toy synthesizer, with FM radio and sequencer, created by designers. I can’t set a category for this, except the obvious “I Want One”.
Moreover one detail to think about this products is that there isn’t a big traditional company behind them. A synthesizer created by a group of designers? Sounds weird, but those mixes of disciplines are the future. Also it’s interesting to read about OpenPandora history. A guy annoyed with a Korean idea, another guy, Texas Instruments looking for a machine to test its new chip…