皇冠官网_智能手机时代 一切设备以软件为核心


皇冠官网:Technology fanatics descend every January on Las Vegas for the International CES, a colossal gathering of gadgetry and geekery where some of the world’s largest companies show off their best ideas for the future.每年1月,科技迷们回到拉斯维加斯参与国际消费者电子产品展览(International CES)。世界上仅次于的一些公司不会在这个电子设备狂和极客的大集会上展出他们对未来的最佳飨宴。

This year, as in every recent year, the show has been burdened by existential angst, with many tech writers saying they planned to skip an event no longer seen as vital. It has been ages since anything momentous was unveiled at CES.今年,和过去几年的每一次那样,这个展出因为否有不存在的适当而受到焦虑感的后遗症。许多科技业专栏作家回应,他们想跳过这个早已不被推崇的事件。好多年过去了,CES很久没发售任何具备里程碑意义的产品。But the travails of CES are a symptom of a larger transformation in tech. The era dominated by consumer electronics — what most of us call gadgets — is in turmoil.但是,CES的绝望在更加宏观的层面上反映了科技领域的变迁。

消费电子产品——大多数人称作电子设备——所主导的时代,正在再次发生剧变。One reason is that many devices have been superseded by a single, all-powerful tool: the smartphone. Today, just about everything that once required a small, dedicated electronic device — from cameras to portable game consoles to GPS navigators to music players to too many others to name — works better as an app on a phone.其中一个原因是,许多设备已被一种单一的全能工具所代替,那就是智能手机。

如今,完全所有曾多次必须一台小型专用设备的东西——照相机、便携式游戏机、GPS导航仪、音乐播放器等许许多多东西——作为手机的一个应用程序,能有更佳的展现出。At the same time, smartphones have created new categories of capabilities that have eclipsed gadgets as the tech industry’s center of energy and innovation.与此同时,智能手机还建构了新的功能类别,出了科技产业活力与创意的中心,令其过去的设备黯然失色。I’m talking about photo apps like Instagram, messaging companies like WhatsApp and Snapchat, transportation systems like Uber and Lyft, and Apple Pay, the wireless payment system created by a company best known for its hardware.这里说道的是Instagram等图片应用于、WhatsApp和Snapchat等即时通讯服务、Uber和Lyft等交通应用于,以及以硬件有名的苹果公司所发售的移动支付系统Apple Pay。

These services, powered by smart software, use our phones’ constant connection to the cloud, and their powers to connect us with one another, to create tech experiences that wouldn’t have been possible with the gadgets of yesteryear. None of them would ever have graced a stage at CES, because none of these things are really gadgets; they’re way more exciting than that.这些以智能软件为载体的服务,利用手机与云的持续相连,以及让我们与彼此产生联系的力量,建构了昔日的设备所无法带给的科技体验。它们当中没哪个不会在CES的展台上荣耀登场,因为它们都不是确实的设备;但它们要激动人心得多。

Here’s the important lesson for consumer electronics companies: The future of tech may not be in flashier, more powerful hardware, but instead in services enabled by clever software. The gadgets matter, but only if they allow for software that can create useful, perhaps groundbreaking services that work across all our gadgets.对于消费性电子产品公司而言,这里有个最重要的教训:科技的未来也许不在于更加炫酷、更加强劲的硬件,而在于通过智能软件来构建的服务。只有能用于软件——能带给简单的、也许具备开创性的服务的软件(而且这些服务能限于于所有设备)——这些设备才有意义。“Today, what every customer expects is for their device to be a platform,” said John MacFarlane, the chief executive of the connected-speaker company Sonos, referring to a design practice in which the machine’s intelligence and user interface are built out of flexible software rather than baked into the hardware — thus enabling future improvements through updates.“现在,每位顾客都期望自己的设备能变为一个平台,”智能扬声器公司Sonos的首席执行官约翰·麦克法兰(John MacFarlane)说道。他这里提及了一种设计原则,即机器的智能和用户界面都来自灵活性的软件,而非焊入硬件——从而能通过改版来构建未来的改良。


Sonos, which was founded in 2002, was one of the first hardware start-ups to design its products this way.正式成立于2002年的Sonos,是最先以这种方式设计产品的硬件初创公司之一。Sonos’s speakers offer the best example of why a design that is intended to be flexible can be so useful.Sonos的扬声器极好地说明了为何灵活性的设计不会如此简单。

In 2005, when Sonos sold its first multiroom music system, the units played music stored on a computer, and they had to be controlled by the company’s own touch-screen remote control. But the company believed that anyone who bought its speakers would keep them for a long time, probably a decade or more, so the device would have to be able to live through unpredictable tech changes.2005年,当Sonos卖出第一个多房间音乐系统时,该系统播出的是储存在一台电脑上的音乐,而且必需用公司自己的触屏遥控器来展开掌控。但公司指出,出售其扬声器的人会把它们保有很长一段时间,也许10年,也许10年以上,所以这个设备必需需要遭受寄居不能预见的科技变革。

So early in its design process, Sonos decided to make sure the software brains of its devices could be regularly updated. Every few months, the device would check in with the home base and acquire new capabilities.所以,在设计之初,Sonos就要求要保证其设备的软件核心需要定期改版。间隔几个月,该设备就与总部取得联系,并取得新的功能。

“Did we know there would be an iPhone?” Mr. MacFarlane said. “No, we didn’t know Apple was working on one. And we certainly didn’t foresee tablets. But we made a decision to put the user experience on any device that was close to you, like your phone or P.D.A.”“我们告诉不会经常出现iPhone吗?”麦克法兰说道。“不,我们并不知道苹果公司当时在研究iPhone。当然,我们更加没预见平板电脑的产生。

但是,我们要求把用户体验放到与人们关系密切的所有设备之上,比如手机或掌上电脑。”As a result, in the years since, Sonos’s speakers have gained a range of new powers. They can be controlled by a smartphone app, play music from dozens of streaming music services and connect to a home-automation system, allowing the system to read you the weather report when you step into your kitchen for breakfast. If you bought those 2005-era Sonos speakers, you would have noticed something almost unheard-of in consumer tech, not to mention in life: The older the speakers got, the more they seemed capable of doing.结果,这些年来,Sonos的扬声器取得了一系列新功能。它们既可以通过智能手机应用程序来掌控,可以播出数十个流音乐服务上的曲子,还需要与家庭自动化系统相连接——这样一来,当你走出厨房吃早餐时,这个系统就能为你朗诵天气预报。

如果你卖的是2005年那个年代的Sonos扬声器,你就不会找到消费科技领域——更加不用说日常生活中——前所未闻的东西:扬声器的用于年代越久,它们或许就享有更加多的功能。Sonos was a pioneer, but a range of hardware start-ups have embraced a philosophy that prizes flexible software as the heart of gadgetry.Sonos是一个先锋,但是一系列硬件领域的创业公司也在其研发的设备当中,带入了推崇软件灵活性的理念。Nest transformed the previously staid market for home thermostats by creating a model that leverages software connected to the Internet. In the same vein, firms like Dropcam made software-powered cameras, and companies like Fitbit and Jawbone made connected fitness gadgets.Nest建构的一款设备利用了终端互联网的软件,进而改变了过去古板的家用恒温器市场。

Dropcam这样的企业也以某种程度的思路,生产了用软件来强化功能的摄像头,Fitbit和Jawbone这样的企业则发售了联网的身体健康设备。Benedict Evans, an analyst at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, noted that a lot of these novel devices might not have been possible without the rise of smartphones. Not only do apps function as the user interface for many of these devices, but the phone industry has also created a supply chain of cheap computing components like processors and motion sensors that are used in many new connected devices.风险投资公司安德森·霍洛维茨(Andreessen Horowitz)的分析师贝内迪克兹·埃文斯(Benedict Evans)提及,如果不是智能手机的蓬勃发展,很多这样的新设备也许显然不有可能经常出现。

这些设备中,不仅有许多以app作为用户界面,而且手机产业也促成了廉价计算出来元件,如微处理器、动作感应器的供应链,许多新的经常出现的联网设备都中用了这些元件。“If you sit and count how many devices have been destroye皇冠d by the smartphone, you may end up with a dozen categories — but you may also end up with two or three dozen new things that become possible thanks to the smartphone,” said Mr. Evans, the author of “Mobile Is Eating the World,” an examination of how smartphones have roiled the traditional tech business.埃文斯说道,“如果你椅子来算平方根有多少种设备被智能手机烧掉了,可能会数出十几个类别,但有可能也不会找到二十几种、三十几种因为智能手机才有可能问世的新设备。”埃文斯编写的《手机正在毁灭世界》(Mobile Is Eating the World)详尽描写了智能手机是怎样避免出现传统科技产业的。Still, these forward-thinking manufacturers must take pains to keep their devices one step ahead of the advance of smartphones, which are always gaining new, gadget-destroying capabilities. Consider the market for basic fitness trackers — for instance, devices like the Fitbit Zip, a thumb-size, $60 device that hooks to your belt and counts your steps as you move.不过,这些具备前瞻性的制造商必需要竭尽全力,才能让自己的设备领先于智能手机的发展,因为后者仍然在加到不足以毁坏某种设备的新功能。


考虑一下基本款身体健康跟踪设备的市场,比如像Fitbit Zip这样的小东西。这款拇指大小、价值60美元的设备扣住在腰带上,能在你运动时老大你计步。Such a tracker, which connects to a phone to sync its data, might have made sense a few years ago, when people weren’t as hooked to their phones. But as people carry their phones around with them more often — and as our phones become capable of better measurement, including elevation — will people still need a basic activity tracker? After all, today’s top phones, including the iPhone and Samsung’s new devices, have built-in apps that track your motion.几年前,卖这样一款必须相连到手机来实时数据的设备也许还说道得合,那时候人们还不像现在这样如此必不可少手机。然而随着人们更加频密地带着手机四处回头,而且手机也具备了更佳的测量功能(还能测得海拔),人们还必须基本款的运动跟踪设备吗?却是,今天的高端手机,还包括iPhone和三星(Samsung)的新型号,都有内置的app可以记录用户的运动。

It’s precisely because of this risk of being displaced by phones that gadget makers ought to think of their hardware as a platform for software.正是因为有这种被手机替代的风险,电子设备的制造商才必须将自己的硬件解读为软件的载体平台。In that world, a basic activity tracker that was rendered superfluous by a phone might acquire new capabilities for some other use. Maybe it could be converted, via software, into an activity tracker for pets? Or perhaps it could become part of a home automation system.在那样的情况下,新手机问世后就变得很多余的基本款运动跟踪设备,也许还能取得新的功能,用作别的什么用途。比如可以通过软件,改变为宠物活动的追踪器,再行比如沦为家用自动化系统的一部分。

As my colleague Molly Wood reported, many companies at CES this week are focusing on plans for integrating their devices into connected systems, rather than simply bringing out flashier hardware.就像我的同事莫利·伍德(Molly Wood)报导的,本周CES的许多展览公司都在注目的是,如何将自身的设备统合入联网系统,而某种程度是发售更加酷炫的硬件。Don’t expect this integration to happen overnight; it could take years before we get to a point where it’s a given that any device you buy will connect to any other. Gadget makers would do well to hasten this era: Their salvation lies in software.不过,不要以为这种统合一夜之间就不会再次发生,有可能要过很多年,我们才能相信自己购买的任何设备,都能相连到另一台设备。减缓这个时代的来临也不利于设备制造商:软件才是它们的救星。