It Slices! It Dices! It Makes Julienne Fries!!

After my post about shopping for a new digital camera, I had several people ask me why I wanted a stand-alone device when camera phones are getting so good. This is a dilemma with buying technology: do you buy a one-hit wonder or a jack-of-all-trades device?

I often bounce back and forth on the subject. Certainly, I love the idea of carrying fewer devices with me when I travel. Women can carry their iPod, cellphone, digital camera, keys, and wallet all in their purse, but as a man I’m expected to carry these items in my pants pockets. This can be really uncomfortable and inconvenient, especially when my pants are so laden with objects that I need to wear a belt.

On the other side, these convergence devices aren’t always good at everything they do. I buy plenty of games for my iPod Touch, for instance, but few of the experiences compare to something I’d buy for my Nintendo DS. Likewise, my Playstation 2 isn’t a very good DVD player, being cumbersome to control with the standard controller. The only reason I wish the Wii could play DVDs is because the controller is a damn remote control (and the Netflix interface proves that it’s well-suited to the purpose). One of my favorite articles in “Convergence: A Great Word to Hate.” It’s a little long, but it’s a really good read on the subject of convergence devices.

I’m sure cellphone cameras are much improved compared to a few years ago, and would likely put my current point-and-shoot to shame. The real question is whether it would be good enough?

What’s your thoughts on the subject? Do you prefer devices that do one thing really well, or multi-purpose devices like the iPhone 4?