All-in-One Technology: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Tom Pearson, Product Marketing Manager

Creating an all-in-one product isn’t for the faint of heart. Do it wrong, and you risk the “what-were-they-thinking” reviews and slumping sales.

But do it right and you can capture the market’s imagination and create something genuinely useful.

Here’s a quick pictorial tour of some of my favorite hits and misses. Tell us about yours in the comment box below.

Old School

The quintessential all-in-one device, the Swiss Army knife has been around since the 1880s. While extremely popular with American soldiers in the 1940s, its German name Offiziersmesser proved too much of a tongue twister, so the now common term “Swiss army knife” was born.

Not a device to rest on its laurels, the Swiss army knife has kept current with the times, offering custom patterns (Converse All-Star model anyone?) and hi-tech touches like USB drives.

George Jetson’s Fridge

First things first: No, you can’t watch “Gangnam Style” while getting your crushed ice.

What you can do with this mash up of computer and cuisine is check-in and check-out various foods. Then, the LG fridge will recommend recipes based on its contents as well as add depleted foods to online shopping services. The fridge will also communicate wirelessly with your LG Smart Oven, so you can log even more time on your comfy couch, ignoring the inevitable robot take-over of the planet.

Want to “watch TV”?

As technology grew more sophisticated throughout the 1970s and 1980s, digital watch makers began to add calculators, games and other functions. And it wasn’t long before someone had the idea to combine the wristwatch with television, the dominant media of the pre-Internet era.

Here’s the Seiko TV watch from 1982, which offered live TV broadcast on a tiny blue-and-gray LCD screen. Although you’d probably file it under “retro” today, the TV watch concept might be considered a bellwether for the media-in-the-palm-of-your-hand technology that we’re accustomed to today.

The Heavyweight Champion of the World

Phone? Check. Camera? Check. Video? Check. Internet? Check.

According to, 181 million smart phones shipped last quarter, and it’s no wonder—the smartphone seems to do it all and keeps expanding its functionality by the year.

Smartphones are so ubiquitous that it probably doesn’t spring to mind immediately when people think of all-in-one technology. But the list of devices replaced by a smart phone is incredible—music player, watch, voice recorder, calculator—the list goes on and on.

The rise of the smartphone seems unlikely to slow down. If there’s a need for more smartphone functionality, there’s probably an app developer out there working on it right now.

Don’t call it a “foon”!

When it’s all said and done, I’m pretty sure that this will be the all-in-one technology that rules them all.

Brought to you by the LifeSize Unity Series, intuitive all-in-one devices that make video conferencing easy. Learn more here.

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