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Device Ensembles
December 2004 (vol. 37 no. 12)
pp. 56-64
Although getting notebook computers, cell phones, PDAs, and similar devices to work together can be frustrating today, these and other digital devices will eventually work in concert, like an ensemble of musicians that achieves a total effect greater than that of its individual performers.

Some claim that all personal devices will disappear except for full-featured cell phones, which already have integrated cameras, PDAs, GPS tracking, and music players. In a future built around one device, some may think ensemble computing is a red herring.

Yet people will always be motivated to build and use tools that feel natural. Although some capabilities will merge into adjacent form factors, such as personal information management merging into cell phones, other combinations will find a steady state. Familiar technosocial ensembles such as the PC workspace and home entertainment center are fairly generic and location-based. These are rapidly giving way to personalized mobile ensembles that rely heavily on portable devices and a user-centric model of communication and media engagement.

Bill N. Schilit, Uttam Sengupta, "Device Ensembles," Computer, vol. 37, no. 12, pp. 56-64, Dec. 2004, doi:10.1109/MC.2004.241
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