Input Device must be: 1) handheld, 2) ergonomic, and 3) all-in-one.
The basics seem obvious… because they are! And here’s how we came up with them.
1) Why handheld?
Because we’re relaxing on the couch… period.
2) Why ergonomic?
First impressions can mean a lot, so a feeling of reluctance is a sensation we want to get rid of. Let’s face it, it sure as hell is easy to doubt before believing in a new product. Take a look at how much critique the iPad got before it came out, even with the line of Apple products to support their innovative claim.
‘Any argument that a pad is not a PC is simply out of sync.’ ‘We are encouraging vendors to plan for the future and not to remain stuck in the past,’ said Canalys Senior Analyst Daryl Chiam.
If you give any reason for the consumer to think it’s uncomfortable or confusing, they’ll be sure to drop it as fast as they turned their eyes on it. Unless they know for sure, they’ll make haste decisions whether or not they’ve used the product or not. So there’s a need to make it ergonomic and make it feel as though the controller is part of the new experience. However, this new experience calls for multiple functions to fit nicely into a compact, ergonomic, handheld design.
Although the input device will have to control a variety of different apps, we must first consider the needs of the developers who are the ones that actually create the content. We have to hand them a device that allows them to freely explore the potential of the Smart TV so that the end market can flourish exponentially. We can’t limit developers to only motion-required content or only touch technology or other very specific functions because these specific functions only benefit specific aspects of the Smart TV and fail in a universal sense.
3) Why all-in-one?
To use product A, you need product B. To use product B, you need product C. You like product A, but you don’t like everything about it. You see the flaws answered with product B, but product B also has flaws answered by product A. But you can’t just bring them all into the living room and have the consumers choose. Rather, it just flusters them into not buying them at all. Thus, the necessity for an all-in-one controller.
To understand what’s hindering the step towards creating an all-in-one device, look at the keyboard for instance. To input characters efficiently, QWERTY keyboard must be incorporated. However, as explained previously in “the Good and the Bad,” the handheld characteristic is impractical. Even users used to QWERTY keyboards feel uncomfortable using it in a sofa setting.
Having to fit the keyboard into an all-in-one device has been nothing short of a migraine so far. The people need it, but they hate it. It makes this situation terribly difficult to deal with. But it stands that no matter how difficult this situation may seem, the solution relies on the all-in-one aspect to succeed.
4) Why TV remote, mouse, keyboard, and game controller functions?
There are numerous reasons for either the success or failure of Smart TV, but a lot of those rely heavily on the availability and health of applications. From apps, there come killer contents that essentially give reason for why people want to buy the Smart TV in the first place.
The remote is for TV functions. Enough said. The game controller contributes a major role through an ergonomic standpoint and the gaming market prospect. Gaming is the killer content of killer contents.
These are why these functions are not only appropriate, but necessary for there to be an effortless transition in the success of the third-screen.
5) Smart TV = TV + PC + Game
Internet & TV = self-explanatory.
Gaming? Given any serious platform, the #1 category for application is gaming because gaming is the killer content of killer contents that give incentive to buying into the platform.
Going a little deeper, in order to satisfy the N-screen solution, the device must allow you to transition through the apps available on all platforms: PC, mobile, and now TV. [Backtracking a bit, the N-screen solution is one of the most critical aspects to the success of a ‘smart’ TV. The “N” stands for “number of screens.” Currently we are at 2-screens: PC and mobile. Whatever you can see and do on your PC, you can see and do on your mobile phone/tablet, and vice-versa. The TV will act as the third screen, thus, the 3-screen solution.]
Contents like video, music, and documents are no-brainers and can be done now through cloud, but games are a different issue. The game market is a huge factor in the app market experience whether you’re on your phone, tablet, or PC and must be taken into consideration in respects to the ease of transition between the different platforms that is the N-screen, and again, to limit the gaming market is to show the short-sighted vision of the companies view of the market. Gaming is the killer content of the killer contents, and the TV screen must now act similar to a console game in order to satisfy the TV experience, and also to satisfy the needs of the developers. You/developers don’t want to be limited to simple touch/swipe games like the ones on your phone or tablet (as fun as they may be) on the TV from your couch; no, you/developers are going to want to play/create detailed, immersive game scenarios fit for the big screen experience — the kind of games only console systems could have supported. The transition must be easy, comfortable, and fun, and the users will be able to see just how successful the Smart TV transition is through the gaming aspect of the N-screen solution.
Everything stated above is necessary in making the TV “smart.” We must satisfy the above. By leaving one out, the “smart” TV can easily become a “stress” TV or ultimately a “stupid” TV (as the current so-called ‘smart’ TV companies out in the market have shown). With the situation at hand, companies should label this as a “hobby” like Steve Jobs, or rather, instead of trying to create a “smart” TV, concentrate on creating a “smart” controller first. Priorities! The ‘personal’ computer was possible only because there was a mouse to easily and comfortably control it. The smart phone was only conceived due to the previous research on touch technology. The input device/method has been the key time and time again. Smart TV is no different. Creating this product is the “smartest” thing to do.