Sometimes, too much success sows the seeds for segment trivialization
RF is everywhere, and is doing well as an enabling technology, considering the overall economic situation. Mobile PCs and handheld connectivity are visible and being used everywhere, going well beyond voice-mostly cell phones. People are not only using basic voice, but also digital connectivity for downloading and watching what used to be called "broadcast TV", but now is better described as just plain "video". Internet access, and all that it brings, is easily available via Wi-Fi, 3G (and soon, 4G), and other standards.
This is good for our industry, in general. The symbiotic, mutually reinforcing relationship cycling around market growth, higher volumes, lower costs (repeat as needed) also benefits other, associated applications as more, better, lower-cost components and technologies become available, as well.
But there is a downside that lurks behind too much of a good thing. As markets saturate, and everyone who can use, afford, or needs that latest widget has one, markets and vendors start adding more bloat, more trivial features, and more needless complexity. Not only does this complicate product usability, it decreases viable product life from a marketing perspective, and reliability from a technical perspective.
What really bothers me is that it also spurs the perceived trivialization of the product, in the mind of the general public. When you start adding mindless games or features to a complicated product—which a cell phone or mobile 3G unit is—you are also saying to the world "hey, this is no big deal, this is just a toy, though admittedly an expensive one." And that further degrades the public's image of engineers, engineering, and the technology which so many work so hard to create and bring to reality. Sometimes, it's better to make hard things look hard, not trivial. ♦