Below and after the jump, highlights from many interesting dispatches on the "all in one" question: whether cameras, computers, e-readers, etc will naturally converge into one multi-purpose super-device -- or whether people will continue to carry separate cameras, laptops, e-readers, and so on. This is long but is meant as a wrap-up survey of views. (Update: in fact, there are a few more items for one more installment soon.) Thanks to many readers for their thoughts.
From a reader in Vietnam:
"If your all in one device crashes, then all your devices have crashed. If your cell phone crashes, only your cell phone has crashed. If your all in one is picked out of your pocket by a thief, they are all gone..."
From a reader in the US:
"In a sense, the all-in-one debate began with the laptop. The laptop bundles processor, hard drive, screen, keyboard, mouse, microphone, speakers, and webcam, all of which are inferior to their desktop relatives. Yet, laptops are extremely popular, certainly not eliminating desktop computers, yet replacing them much more than had been expected.
"One of the significant factors in that evolution is that the limited laptop is happy to be extended into greater desktop fullness. Some of the most elaborate and delicious desktop systems out there are extensions of laptops, such that, when the room full of hardware becomes an immobilizing anchor, the user can walk away with the all-in-one that everything plugs into. That kind of extensibility is the real next step in smart phones, one that we're only getting hints at, now. Yes, we will use specialized devices to take pictures, write books, watch full large screen movies, etc., but those devices will more and more be extenders of the all-in-one devices that will always be in our pockets, allowing us to do the full range of functions in small form when their extensions, for whatever the reason are not handy."
From a reader in the US on the Kindle-v-Nook point (yes, off topic, but on point):
"The main reason I have chosen not to buy the Kindle is Amazon. I view Amazon as a threat to something I value almost as much as books.
"If I have to choose between Amazon's device or B&N's, I will choose the latter. I want to support a company that maintains brick-and-mortar bookstores. These kinds of business help to make neighborhoods lively and livable. Moreover, only in real bookstores do I discover so many books that I never would have thought to look for.
"Whereas Amazon's business model diminishes communities, Barnes and Noble makes a neighborhood better."