Smaller, Faster, Lighter at SXSW

New chip technologies and memory capabilities are enabling music players and a host of gadgets to decrease in size while simultaneously increasing in functionality, so SXSW has a session geared toward the next wave of innovation while also examining the cultural impact of such changes.

Eric Hellweg, Harvard Business Review, says eventually companies will find themselves under pressure when only one device serves all needs. William Bull, Frog Design, says because we can develop in high volume – it has to be figured out how user interfaces work in the current ecosystem. Just because it is usable does not mean it will get social acceptance – evolutionary but not necessarily revolutionary. Options coming – no design will is pervasive, it will be part of clothing, and form follows function. Networking will affect the products – and controversy may arise with using your nervous system to transmit data for example. Gray McCord from M3 Design says Moore’s Law has affected change and given new capabilities – but social issues should be addressed, too. Content owners are concerned with protecting intellectual rights resulting in data rights management and other legal concerns. User interface with small products, miniaturization is addressed at M3, so McCord is trying to recover the experience of interacting with music – rather than a data management – and the retail experience will improve as artists become involved in this process. Andrew Horwitz, Seagate Technology, says user experience – smaller, lighter, faster is going to evolve but meet the needs of consumers. Faster connectivity will help improve the experience. Critical mass acceptance happens and then the production around the world can make a product happen almost instantly, says McCord. Horwitz says iPod product is not the least expensive but user experience is better and this is the value of the product. He says gaming is exploding and personally created content is exploding, so this will continue to grow. Hellweg says sharing music is a common bond and its fluidity makes it easier to share now. Bull says brand is selling more than user experience on some products.

More from SXSW later today. Also, to hear Podcasting 2.0 go to the SXSW podcast web page.