Gone are the days when all of our entertainment options were necessarily tied to the home. Instead, we’re now used to making use of portable technology, but how close are we to the point at which portable technologies begin to erase some of the need we have for conventional home technology?
People are starting to realise the small and portable options are now capable of being almost if not just as powerful and capable as bigger home technology. There are still some reasons why things aren’t as clear cut as that though, mainly because home tech is improving as well.
For many people, the desktop is dead in terms of casual browsing, even laptop sales are not nearly as strong as they used to be. People know find it much easier to browse the internet on their smartphones, and this is possible because most websites are now responsible meaning they’re easy to browse on smartphone devices.
Outside of a professional context, where desktop computers are of course still very common, smartphones have already taken over and this is borne out by year on year statistics. Last year, smartphones beat desktop in terms of global usage for the first time, and the trend is continuing to head in that same direction to this day. The affordability of smartphones also plays a clear part in this.
We all watch content in various ways these days. And thanks to all the major streaming and video platforms now having mobile apps that can be used on the go, viewing and watching content is easier than ever. It’s now common to see people on the train or bus watching a TV show or YouTube video as they make their way to or from work each day.
It’s also the case that home entertainment tech is changing and improving, with 4K being the hot new thing that’s driving sales of TVs and blu-rays players, so you’re probably not going to be abandoning home viewing anytime soon. The race for ever more pixels looks set to continue, and the next big thing will be either 6K or even 8K home viewing.
Gaming is another area that’s been affected by 4K, as we can see in the cases of the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X. They’re 4K machines that aim to keep gamers tied to their TVs, but is this little more than a sign of the threat to these large companies from portable gaming?
With big franchises like Final Fantasy branching out to mobile with titles like Final Fantasy 15 city builder and even Mario doing the same, it’s clear mobile gaming is taking off. On top of that, we have the new hybrid console, the Nintendo Switch, which has broken sales records because of its ability to be played as a home console and as a portable handheld device. Portable gaming is stronger now than it’s ever been before.
Listening to music on the go is clearly nothing new at this point, but are we reaching the point at which expensive home audio systems are becoming obsolete? Clearly that’s not the case for people who are hardcore audiophiles because they’re interested in how clear audio sounds and that’s only possible if you have that expensive equipment.
Things like smart TVs now make it possible for people to stream the music from their phone, whether it’s stored on there or being accessed via a service such as Spotify, directly to the TV. It’s then played through the speakers on the TV, and it’s one way of avoiding the use of tailored audio systems.
Do we really need dedicated communication technology grounded in our homes anymore? The fact that the use of landline phones on the decline, especially among younger people, would suggest we don’t. When you have permanent easy and cheap access to a phone, why would you want to spend a lot on a landline?
The same is true of pretty much every other form of modern communication out there; it can all be taken care of easily and swiftly via a smartphone, whether you need to send an image or fire off some emails. Even printers are not as necessary as they once were.
Things are changing at a rapid rate, and it’s not just the case that portable items are starting to overtake those large, grounded tech items we’re used to, it’s also true that hybridity is becoming a major force in the industry, as demonstrated by the Nintendo Switch.