Most of us remember a time when newspapers hid our parent’s and grandparent’s faces at the breakfast table. That’s right. They weren’t looking at a small screen in the palm of their hand. They were reading from a giant, ink smudgy, crinkly, ad dropping mess that consumed half the table and obscured an entire human torso.
When finished, the reader would fold the newspaper neatly for the next reader; if you’re lucky. The remaining carcass of newsprint, often folded in questionable condition, was missing the section of movie showtimes and comics. Silly putty could be found displaying a child’s favorite part of Beetle Bailey, Archie, Lulu, or Peanuts. And hopefully, Dad washed his hands before fixing his white collared shirt or behold the belly ink smudge.
I remember these moments with warm nostalgia and longing for those who’ve passed. I suppose a folding mobile phone could raise similar memories for a younger audience. Perhaps they remember using Mom or Dad’s flip phone to talk to Grandma or punching at its glowing number pad to attempt a keypad text message. Time will tell if this throwback to Razr’s easily pocketed design will take off.
However, one thing is sure. Folding screens have captured our attention. This isn’t just a novelty. Technology evolves according to our desire to achieve harmony, simplicity, and ubiquity. We want our technology everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Short of implanting the tech directly into our skulls, we want to improve our world without cluttering our view or ability to move within it.
We also want technology that doesn’t remove human interaction because memes can’t replace hugs. The development of young minds and our longing to look into the eyes of our children are powerful drivers for technologies that bring us together to share everyday experiences. We want to play basketball and take the dog for a walk without sacrificing connectivity. Oh, and we don’t want a brick flopping around in our pocket.
Look around your office and home. What would it look like if the technology was everywhere and nowhere? Perhaps your monitor is simply a thin, silver cylinder running 26 inches across the back of your desk. With a tap of your finger, the “monitor” scrolls open or projects a crystal clear image. The picture could spring forth from a tiny projector that displays on almost any surface with color and texture correction in ultra-high definition.
It feels like tech is cluttering our lives, and everything needs to be charged. Cords are coming out of our pockets, ears, countertops, and cabinets. Our kids, spouses, and friends are stuck staring at screens and oblivious to the world around them. However, this technological arch is bringing us back to “the good old days” because we long for it.
While we think smartphones are dividing us. Its social media is tying us together. The smartphone replaces a mountain of antiquated devices that cluttered our homes like calculators, compasses, wall phones, newspapers, and media players of all types. Soon they will replace clunky gaming systems. Every time the technology is made smaller, faster, simpler, and safer, another step toward the technical nirvana of being everywhere and nowhere has been taken.