One of the interesting announcement of DEMO 07 has been DAVE (Digital Audio Video Experience) by Seagate. It is a very small storage drive (credit card size) with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support. It boasts up to 14 days of standby power and 10 hours of continuous use, it can be accessed from anywhere up to 30 feet (9.1 meters), it will ship in May/June and it will cost around $150.
What does it mean?
It means you can store 20 Giga of your stuff in it, put it in your bag and access it from your cell phone. Wirelessly.
In theory, it makes a lot of sense. You have a growing need for storage. You want your data always with you. Therefore, you go out with Dave at night. It speaks to your cell phone, PDA, mp3 player, iPhone (yeah, right, like you will be able to write an app on it), your PC at home and so on. DAVE kills the need for synchronization. It is a one-stop-shop for your data storage.
In practice, I do not think the concept will fly. IXI tried something like this with the PMG (Portable Mobile Gateway). Devices that only solve an infrastructure problem, but require no physical interaction with the mobile user, have no appeal. The thing does nothing. No beep, no lights, no tactile feedback, nothing. It is in your bag. Still. It appeals to geeks but not consumers. I can see people showing it off in a coffee place in San Jose, not in a bar of Milan. It is not fashionable, it is geeky (and black).
As you probably know, I am not a fan of mobile convergence. I believe in divergence. DAVE pushes divergence, taking care of a basic task (storage) and adding yet another device. I should like it. However, I just can't see it as a viable mass solution. I believe phone will just add more storage (see the iPod Nano, does it have enough storage in a limited space?). Storage won't be a good reason for divergence. User interfaces will. Usage segmentation will. Multiple devices with local storage, same data, to be synchronized.
One thing I really like about the way Seagate approached the software component of DAVE: open source. The API to access the device will be all open source. That's mobile open source, by the way. That will generate a ton of innovation. Someone very smart will build something we are not even thinking about today. Maybe one day you'll put your DAVE in your car and leave it there. Or it will be strapped to your purse. We'll see. Let open source people take care of it. They know better.