Jeremy Hobson: Retailers are starting to clear space on their shelves. That’s to make more room for tablet computers which are expected to out-sell laptops by next year. Tablets like the iPad are also being called the killer of the e-reader. It seems most consumers want everything in one place — on one device.
Let’s talk about that now with LA Times Consumer Columnist David Lazarus. Good morning, David.
David Lazarus: Good morning.
Hobson: Well it sounds like everybody wants everything on one device, and companies are more than happy to make that happen.
Lazarus: Of course. And you know, who wouldn’t want it? Because there’s a convenience factor involved here, and what this is going to mean is a number of consumer products are going to disappear; if not altogether, then gradually. I work for a newspaper, I know all about digital technology upending existing standards. So I think we should prepare for things to disappear, if not in the near future, then coming up soon.
Hobson: Well what kinds of things do you think will be going away?
Lazarus: Look at wristwatches, for example. Young people simply don’t wear them. Why? Because people just carry around their smartphone, it gives them the time. So wristwatches will have some nostalgia value, but I don’t think they’re going to have a lot of staying power. CDs, DVDs — those are gimmes; they’re out of here completely. GPS devices — you’re not going to need a separate one of those, not when you’ve got a smartphone around. And here’s an interesting one: address books. You’ll keep all of that stored on your whatever-mobile-service. I knew that that was the shape of the things to come when I did that myself, and I’m the last guy to always do that kind of thing.
Hobson: You get everything on your phone. Is there anything that consumers might want to keep separate?
Lazarus: People talk about how books are facing their demise from e-readers. I just don’t see that happening anytime soon. I think books will have some staying power; they’re just too portable, too convenient. Here’s another interesting one: game consoles like PlayStations and Xboxes and Wiis — they take so much computing power to run the state-of-the-art games right now. I just don’t know if you can pack that much power into a lightweight device like an iPad or an iPod and still have the same playability, so my suspicion is we’re going to see game consoles for a bit longer.
Hobson: And David, are there any things consumers should be worried about when it comes to putting everything in one place?
Lazarus: Yeah — losing the darn thing! You lose your device, you’ve lost half of your life now. So if there’s any one thing I want to leave people with is back up your data — back it up.
Hobson: L.A. Times consumer columnist David Lazarus, thanks so much.
Lazarus: Thank you.
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