As technology rapidly changes, and seemingly almost every month brings new developments to the fore, this poses a rather unique challenge to users. Domenico Gargarella, the new regional general manager for Toshiba Southern Africa, explained that furthermore, people are being constantly bombarded with new technology to come to terms with.
This has led to a situation where many consumers walk into a shop and use their hard earned money to buy old technology, as they are making their purchasing decision based on the price alone. The problem is, many people are not aware that this lower-speced notebook might not deliver the performance that they want. More importantly, they don't always consider what value a better notebook can bring to their lives and how it can more adequately fulfill their expectations.
He pointed out that, while many people think that any computer will allow them to do whatever they want, there existed a big difference between computers that are suitable for office and internet browsing and those geared for photography, multimedia work and video editing.
"My advice to users before they go buy a new computer is to take a moment and ask themselves why they want a computer and what they want to use it for, " he said. Gargarella continued that users should consider buying the best technology they can afford that suits their needs.
"I believe that someone who can afford to buy a model for R2999 can also afford the R3500 and perhaps even R3999 price range," he gave as an example. He added that if buyers on a strict budget waited a little while and saved a little more money before making their purchase, they could buy a better model due to the price cuts being made on an ongoing basis.
The human-centric approach
According to Gargarella, the good news is that, amid the changes technology is undergoing and bringing, it is ultimately becoming more human-centric, enabling people to do more with less time and expanding their freedom. He stressed that technology should add value and enrich the lives of its users.
He continued that the more people use a technology, the more important it becomes, until it reaches critical mass. This, he pointed out, has happened with TV, VCRs, computers, and the internet, as just a few examples. In the case of the internet, at a certain point online content began to grow exponentially.
Gargarella also cited how PVR technology had radically changed TV, ultimately, giving people more freedom by effectively enabling them to become their own broadcaster and determine when and how they watched what they wanted to.
Freedom and the 3D revolution
"Humankind is always after freedom, we want to be free to do what, when, with whom we choose, and this is why the internet became such a massive success," asserted Gargarella.
He added that at the beginning of its development, a new technology that limits freedom may still survive, if only for its novelty value. However, Gargarella believes that any restraints on users' freedom in one way or another will not be permitted for long.
One area where the influence of such freedom is already showing, is in 3D technology. The technology has evolved from requiring glasses that included blue and red lenses, to active lenses for 3D TV and then further to passive lenses, which gave a stronger 3D effect.
Still however, users had to wear glasses to enjoy the 3D experience. This amounted to a restriction on one's freedom, and if Gargarella's premise was to be proved true, would move beyond this limitation. In fact, it already has, having advanced to the point where it doesn't require glasses at all.
Just a few examples that come to mind are the Nintendo 3DS, LG's Optimus 3D smartphone, and Toshiba's own Qosmio F750 3D notebook. Gargarella enthused that more specifically, Toshiba's newest 55" 3D TV will enable up to nine people watching the same screen to enjoy a full 3D effect.
This is possible due to a built-in webcam which tracks the eyes of the viewers and adapts accordingly to provide each viewer with their own 3D view.
PCs biggest problem
Along with tablets, another example of a potential evolution for computing is with regards to what Gargarella calls the "biggest problem with the PC," namely that of the keyboard.
He pointed out that both the netbook and the increasing popularity of tablets indicated that people wanted something small and portable respectively. However, at present the most viable replacement for a keyboard interface could be found in voice recognition; an application most notably demonstrated of late with Apple's Siri.
This led us to wonder at the time whether we were at the very beginning stages of an interface revolution as well, even as a feasible keyboard replacement isn't yet fully matured.
As to what is next for the company and where it is investing its resources moving forward, Gargarella elaborated that the company is spending heavily on Research and Development. He likened this to investing in the stock market, in that the money is spent in the present without knowing when the full benefit will be realised.
Additionally, along with IT, another arena of prime importance to Toshiba is power, most particularly, renewable energy. "You can have the most impressive technology, but without the power, it's just a dead piece of hardware. As long as we live we need power, it is inherent in everything we do, from clothing ourselves to feeding ourselves. Without power, the world is nothing like we experience today," he continued.
To the point
Despite the ongoing barrage of new developments, new technologies, and with it, new ways of doing things that has characterised the 21st century so far, it is imminently preferable to a world without technology, without power and without the freedom and advances it is all too easy to take for granted.