Category: mainstream vs specialist technologies

Mainstream or specialist? Which is best?

Smartphones, iPads, tablets… seems like we’re spoilt for choice these days with all kinds of devices which allow us to find our way around, pay our bills, play games, listen to the radio, play movies and – oh yes, make calls and send texts! Some of these are more affordable than others. Some are more user friendly and others less so. One thing that they all do though, is offer users of differing abilities the chance to do things which they may previously have struggled with.

Many of these devices work perfectly well on their own, but sometimes they work even better when they’ve been modified or customised in some way. For example, an individual might choose to link an infra red receiver to a tablet to allow TV channel changing or to control an electronic door opener.

On the other hand, there are many specialist technologies on the market which are designed with a very specific use in mind. Examples include: voice output communication aids and environmental controllers. Because they’re targeting a very defined (and therefore smaller) market, their cost tends to be considerably higher. However, they might also offer the user a higher level of functionality precisely because they’ve been designed with the user group’s particular needs in mind.

What is your experience of mainstream vs specialist technologies? Is one consistently better than the other? And how important is cost when it comes to choosing a technology for your personal use?