FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Your Next Phone Might Not Be a "Phone"

Technologist Russell Beattie ponders the role of mobile phones, and wonders why, with all their features and computing power, we only use them when we ourselves are "mobile"...

Mobile phones still need that killer app which takes out the need for context. They need to get to the point where they are less devices that you use while out and about, and considered more destinations in their own right. In other words, the current crop of apps are mostly created with that "mobile context" in mind. So you could say I haven't looked at my phone lately because I haven't been moving much. This is wrong. It's limiting a platform which can potentially do anything that a small computer with broadband access can do. The person who comes up with the app that compels a person to use their phone without considering the fact that it's a phone is going to have a killer app on their hand. One could argue the opposite, that mobile phone apps *should* only be used in the mobile context, but I think that's too narrow minded. [Emphasis added]

In other words, you're no longer talking about a phone, but something else entirely. Something that's not just a conglomeration of functions, but a device that can provide seamless, effortless communication whether it be text, sound, video or still images. To that end, the device that Russell Beattie envisions hasn't been invented yet, and may not for some time. Even if it were to be developed tomorrow, it would present such a radical communications paradigm that the general public would need time to warm up to it, more time to master it... and even more time to learn how to use it productively.

Source: EMERGIC.org