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Ruminations Of A Gadget Junkie: iGo?

Ruminations Of A Gadget Junkie: iGo?

by , 11:30 AM EST, December 31st, 2001

Earlier this month a company called Danger, Inc. brought Steve Wozniak onto its board of directors. You might be thinking "We're happy to hear that Steve is gainfully employed, but what does that have to do with the price of frijoles in Spain? And just what the heck is this Danger, Inc. anyway?"

Both are very good questions. Check this out, but be warned, I'm only speculating. None of the conclusions I make are factual, but jeez, I wish they were.

Danger, Inc. is a fairly new endeavor that seeks to marry a broad range of technologies to create an end-to-end wireless communication solution. Of course, to have a solution you must first have a problem, and given that we have nearly every flavor of cell phone/PDA/web surfing gadgets a sane mind can imagine, you have to wonder what the folks at Danger think they could possibly add to the mix.

The long and the short of it is that there must be someone at Danger with a creative sickness that we all should wish was contagious. They have come up with an extremely innovative device that smacks of the fevered creative thinking usually relegated to Apple or Sony. This new fangled thing is a cell phone, but it also offers e-mail, some PDA functions, a digital camera, and includes instant messaging. All this is being offered in what the company is calling a Hiptop computer. You really have to see this thing to truly appreciate it (Flash required for demo, but still images of the device are also available).

Imagine being in Paris ( I love Paris) while your significant other is stuck back in the States for whatever reason. You see some cool sights and you want to share the moment. Simply whip out your Danger Hiptop, snap a photo, e-mail that sucker to your better half, and the moment is shared. Not good enough? Then give her a call while gaping at the Eiffel Tower, or have an IM chat while touring Notre Dame. Can't figure out the Paris subway system and you failed your high school French class? Fire up MapQuest and get real time directions, real time translations. Sweet, eh? There's a bunch more you can do with this neat Hiptop thing, so go check it out.

OK, so we got a cool new thing, and Steve Wozniak is on the board of director of the company that makes it. If this Hiptop thing is so darn cool wouldn't it be just the thing that Apple should be making? Heck, that would slide right into the Apple's digital lifestyle mantra. And it could all be centered around the Mac. The Hiptop would be an extension of your Mac, able to move files, photos, and music back and forth from where ever you happen to be to your Mac back at the ranch. Want to reference something you wrote on your Cube 2 days ago? No problem. Just login and download to your Hiptop. Just took a picture which proves, once and for all, that flying saucers do exist? Archive it automatically on your PowerBook sitting in your study. Slick!

The only problem with this scenario is that this Hiptop thingamabob is not an Apple product, and we all know how Steve Jobs insists on controlling every aspect of the Apple experience. I can't imagine this would be any different, unless...

So this is where Steve Wozniak comes in. I think that if there is anyone that Steve Jobs trusts to build something it would be the Woz. If the Woz told Jobs, "Here's a cool digital toothpick. Wanna try it out?" I think it quite likely that Jobs would slap an Apple brand on it and sell it as a specialty item in the Apple Store. You just know it's got to be cool if the Woz says it is. So, here's Steve Wozniak in a company that makes a really cool PDA-like thing, and there's Apple getting slapped around by its customers who are demanding an Apple branded PDA. I didn't do so well in my Calc class in college, but I can still add this one up. This Danger Hiptop, or something based on it, could be the first Apple branded device not made by Apple, and why not? The Hiptop device fits right in with where Apple is going, it's unique enough to differentiate itself from all of the other PDA/cell phone devices on the market, and it's cool.

Even if Apple does not slap its brand on the Danger Hiptop, I want one. My old Palm 3 is flaky and I need something new. I almost decided on the Palm m505; that's a really nice PDA with the best color screen I've seen on any PDA. I can add memory and add-ons to make the m505 do darn near anything, and that's cool, but this Danger Hiptop is more like what I'm looking for. I don't want to carry both a cell phone and PDA, and I like the feature set the Danger Hiptop offers. Now, if the price is right I'm gonna be the first on my block to own one.

It would be great to have an Apple Hiptop (iHip? iGo? iWander?), but one from BellSouth would do me fine too.

Vern Seward is a frustrated writer who currently lives in Orlando, FL. He's been a Mac fan since Atari Computers folded, but has worked with computers of nearly every type for 20 years.

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