Convergence was for years the buzzword of a tech industry desperate to co-opt every single gadget imaginable into one product.
That dream has been realised completely, with any top-end smartphone worth its salt capable of functioning as a camera, music player, movie streaming system and more.
But now, it seems, tech’s biggest players have reached the limitations of these do-it-all devices.
Designs that are understandably similar can only be differentiated by software which in turn can only be touched and swiped, not handled like a physical product.
Step forward, then, the accessories.
Smartphone add-ons are nothing new. Sony had a smartwatch a few years back (that tanked) and HTC has been reeling out natty extras for ages.
But now we appear to have reached a point where they’re not tacky, expensive extras. They’re something that makes a smartphone even better.
Unquestionably, Samsung’s Galaxy Gear is leading in this regard.
The device has not disappointed and looks like it could create a real buzz.
Packing in a camera function for making video memos or clips for social media is smart and plays perfectly into the current trend for so-called lifelogging.
Its ability to make or take calls, handle media and field messages gets round the interminable hassle of having to fish your phone from a pocket or bag in order to stay in the loop.
Quite simply, Samsung has pushed the idea of a smartwatch further than ever before.
This all plays into an industry wide effort to ‘unpack’ the smartphone.
Its no accident that Sammy’s event this week was called ‘Unpacked’: It wants to unshackle certain features from the core device and make everyday use easier.
The Galaxy Gear does this and it’s hard to imagine it not being a hit, especially as its allied with the sure-to-be-massive Galaxy Note 3.
Although Samsung is leading the way, others are ploughing a similar furrow.
Sony’s detachable lenses for its new Xperia Z1 are a stroke of imaging genius, seeing as they offer compact quality without the ugly bulk you get with Samsung’s Galaxy S4.
Again, this shows that companies are pushing out from the smartphone’s boundaries in an attempt to show what more can be done (as well as create a new sector of power users they can sell to).
To a lesser extent, HTC’s Fetch is also in this mould.
The keyring device finder is a cool idea, but lacks the kind of next-gen edge that Sony’s lenses and Samsung’s watch have.
Apple, of course, will not be far behind.
But what the Galaxy Gear has shown is that Cupertino will have to release an iWatch beyond our wildest dreams in order to stay ahead and gain ground in the world of accessories.
Because there’s no doubt that this area is about to boom.