An innovative new product by two entrepreneurial brothers in San Francisco has yielded a great outdoor-friendly gadget for the summer. The OpenAire laptop serves as both a bag and a desk, a protective shield and a desktop comfort. It’s kind of alike an all-in-one work station for a person who never sits still.
The utilities offered by such an innovation are quite obvious. One could create a makeshift desk in the park or while riding as passenger in a car. Then, when you’re done working, the laptop folds back up like a Transformer, turning into a briefcase or shoulder strap bag.
Could trends like this get even more extreme? And more common? Already companies like Blue Sky Fun are showing that there is tremendous consumer interest in technology gadgets that are optimized for outdoor and public use.
This is likely owing to the increasingly ubiquitous trend of social technology, streamlined for the masses by the one-two combo of cloud services and mobile devices. As consumers get more and more used to accessing files, contacts, and services on-the-go and in social circumstances there will likely be an even greater influx of products catering to outdoor and mobile techies. These products can be expected to range in complexity from screen-protectors, ear buds, and mobile phone cases to action cameras, savvier augmented reality apps and sleeker GPS units.
One big bellwether approaching is how the public will react to Google’s Augmented Reality glasses, which are set to hit stores in 2014. Replete with gaming options, social media, and information overlays relevant to place-based messaging, the glasses will not only be the most complex mainstream gadget to be seen outdoors on an everyday basis since the birth of the mobile phone, it could change the way we perceive the public sphere entirely. All signs point to a big splash for the Google Goggles.
As for other gadgets, sometimes it depends on the utility being offered. In the end, isn’t the point of technology to make life easier? It’s a distinction that can sometimes get buried under the mounds of tweets and apps bombarding our smartphones. But if you look closely, you will see a unifying trend, which is that innovations which make everyday tasks quicker and/or more fun are more readily adopted by the public.
Whether or not the OpenAire laptop will make it on the consumer watchlist remains to be seen. But there will be plenty of other opportunities to gauge the rise of outdoor, mobile gadgets in the near future.