It’s The Living Room

So as I noted earlier, with the Chromecast and Google’s Hangout box, it’s obvious Google is making a play for the Living Room. This is not surprising, since Microsoft is also making a play for the living room (and the office equivalent) with the XBox One to the point they kinda forgot the whole gaming thing until the criticisms came in.

The living room appears to be the next big device battlefield. Well, the Smart Watch as well, but even after some discussions I’m still not sold it’ll be a battlefield as much as the site of a Pyrrhic non-Victory.

I actually think the living is a valid area for tech companies to target, and wanted to explore that a bit.

Is This A Valid Market Target?

Well I said that, but anyway, yeah.

The living room is a prime target for technology since people simply do a lot in there. It’s a social space, it’s already been a space for media and gaming. Between gaming consoles, streaming, cable, etc. people have adopted the living room as a technical-use space, it’s just media-oriented.

So there’s a reason for the technology – and there’s a market and acceptance. It’s a pretty good target.

Is This A Valid Technical Target?

As noted, there’s already acceptance and technical use in the living room. But let’s ask the question – is it going to be any actual interesting development, or is this going to be throwaway bandwagon-jumping?

I think it actually is an interesting area to develop in. There’s plenty of pre-existing technologies of course, but there’s also a lot of fascinating things to explore:

  • Television compatibility – and integration (I mean a lot of this can just be loaded in, look at Google TV)
  • Other device integration.
  • Integration of different program technologies.
  • Usability devices and profiles (I still think Nintendo has lessons to teach us).
  • Making things easy to use by broad populations.
  • Device integration (more on that to come).

It’s not a case of making a lot brand new stuff, but there’s a lot out there to play with.

Is There Any Room For Innovation?

Some. There’s the various above-mentioned elements that should keep many a coder, hardware designer, and project manager happy.

But I actually think the big innovation will come after living room computers become more accepted. People’s device needs and how they integrate them is going to change. Just a few possibilities I see:

  • The living room computer becomes a central PC saving to tablets and smaller devices. For some people this would be a major computer and fit most of their needs.
  • Mobile device integration. There’s been plenty of experiments with phones connecting to other devices, so that’d be an easy remote, control, etc.
  • Video/game streaming to other devices. We’ve already seen that anyway, but a Living Room computer could easily normalize it.
  • Game and software connectivity involving multiple devices. Again, we’ve already seen this before, so it seems a valid area to develop.

So Career Repercussions?

You know I’d be getting to this. I see plenty.

  • This is an area of likely development, but it’s still a little unsure (we’ve already seen some past devices not do so hot). So expect some ups and downs
  • Hardware profiles and designs could get very interesting (I didn’t see the Chromecast coming) so if you’re in hardware you could have a lot of fun with it. However I do think in the end people like boxes and relatable devices.
  • Software development is going to get interesting. Multiple possible OSes, software integration, tying different services together. A lot of it will be with pre-existing stuff, but still interesting.
  • Integration of technologies is going to be a definite area to work on. If that’s your specialty, then enjoy because you know a central computer is going to be a huge opportunity to connect stuff.

Well, will it work?

Frankly, yes. I think that this is a valid market, that it could integrate some devices and tools in a way that may be simpler, and that it fits what people already like and want. It also opens up some new markets if you can deliver computing power and media power to less technical people in an easy way.

I do think it’ll be a bit of a bumpy ride (since it has been already for a few choice devices). But something is going on here, and it’s worth your time to see if you want to be in on it.

– Steven