Years ago, as computers were turning into entertainment centers, I looked at the issue of how they could be integrated into furniture that you would want in your living room. Working with Julia West Home, we designed lovely units like this one:
They were designed to include room for scanners, keyboard drawer and mouse pad, printers, full size computers with proper ventilation, CD and DVD storage and integrated sound systems. That SGI 17" monitor cost $ 3500 but sure looked sweet on top. We only sold two; everybody thought the idea of convergence was weird, and nobody was going to watch movies on their computer.
Now of course, everybody does, and even the computer is now in danger of being replaced by the smart phone and tablet for many uses. Steve Sichon, in a wonderful Huffpost, writes that Everything From This 1991 Radio Shack Ad You Can Now Do With Your Phone. TreeHugger has shown dozens of designs that integrate work and living by making your computer go away, but it has got to the point that nobody wants it to go away, ever.
That's why I like the PodPad, from Portland's Ruphus. It opens up to be a workspace, but also has a place for your always-visible phone. It has a bit of storage, (not much in 4.5 inches deep, but who has CDs anymore?) wire management, and an integrated Samsung soundbar sound system. Unlike ones like the Urbancase that I liked so much 3 years ago, the Podpad designers acknowledge that we never want all our electronics to completely go away anymore, that phone is always visible.
Fifteen years ago, all the functions that happen in this unit needed a room full of stuff for home entertainment and office uses. Now it's all wrapped up in a wall-hung package. We used to call these things convergence furniture, and it all converges in the PodPad. Only $1200, which is a third the cost of the one I designed.