Google IO is hitting the trends list this morning due to a press release regarding the latest version of Android Honeycomb 3.1; a tablet configured operating system which now offers additional hosting facilities and resizeable widgets amongst other things.
I love a bit of technology me, and I like the fact that manufacturers are steering the market towards tablets for a number of reasons, but I do have my reservations about the true value of them and their impact on our health.
For me personally they’re a kind of ‘best of both worlds’ device as I can write, email, web browse, photo edit, skype and whatever else I need for work, and at the end of the working day I can unplug the keyboard, kick back and watch a movie with complete ease and convenience.
That’s all great, but what does bother me are things like the forthcoming Google TV application which Android Honeycomb 3.1 already has support for because it means that the tablet market is aiming itself squarely as an entertainment device more than anything else.
So here it is, my crazier than crazy hypothesis. If tablets are set to take the lion share of the market and give us that flexibility and lightweight convenience with mobile broadband, streaming television, widgets such as Spotify, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, et al, then surely it’s only a matter of time before we see tablet wielding yuppies strolling about the streets watching their favourite TV shows on-demand whilst forcing other pedestrians into sidewalk slaloms as they submerge themsleves into complete obliviousness.
I’ve already witnessed as much with people watching films on their mobile phones while chaotically ambling down the street with no consideration for other human traffic whatsoever.
In what suddenly became the norm during the 80‘s to have a TV in every room we started to see the faintest traces of social disintegration; family life became slightly more fractured as we were given the opportunity to watch different channels in different rooms at the same time and the quality of the programming deteriorated ever-so-slowly with the introduction of cable and satellite channels.
The entertainment market exploded during the 90‘s with Sky Sports coverage and the introduction of mass produced video game consoles which superceded their early ancestors with more powerful processors, superior graphics, better sound, a wider variety of titles and genres to choose from, and of course, the piece de resistance – online gaming.
While soap operas captivated the adult audience by reflecting our dowdy lives on the now flat screen boxes, teenagers and ageing Space Invaders fanboys (and girls) got to grips with l33t g4m3z and button mashing as they bid to be the best online gamer with the best powers and the best slotted toons with the best outfit, abusing each other via in-game chat consoles while bastardising the English language through text and l33t speak, leaving us with a nation of soap obsessed, illiterate zombies whose only purpose is to feed the flickery television machine as it feeds them in turn while living their dull existences through fictional characters with limited parameters and repetitive scenarios.
Okay, enough social entertainment history (not that it’s social), what the hell has this got to do with Android Honeycomb 3.1 you ask?
Simply put, Android Honeycomb 3.1 and the tablets it ‘brings life to’ are the next extension of a program which is slowly isolating virtually every human being in the western hemisphere. With entertaiment constantly at our finger tips we run the risk of becoming a totally dysfunctional race incapable of performing our daily duties to any significant degree of acceptability. Gamers get angrier over their ‘reputation’ as a l33t player, soaps make us even less satisfied with our lives in general and adverts and credit companies make us believe we can have what we want whenever we want it – and these tablets and latest mobile phones bring it all right to our finger tips.
Am I being negative? In some people’s eyes perhaps I am, but in truth I’m being realistic. For confirmation of that fact, look around you at the impact gaming and TV has on our lives. Gamers are spending upwards of six hours per day (more than 10 in many cases) glued to a screen getting angrier and more irritable by the minute as they try to obtain objects which don’t actually exist and have no value in the real world and certainly won’t help them get a job when they need it to fund their gaming addiction which will in turn lose them that job because the addiction is too powerful, while soap watchers come home from a boring job to watch boring characters live boring lives in a boring fictional place, then go to work the next day and boringly discuss the boring soap and the boring plot which somehow gives their life meaning.
With the latest technology and operating systems like Android Honeycomb 3.1 and Google TV allowing us to take these distractions everywhere we go, the future doesn’t actually look that bright for the human race.
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