The technology wave is increasing, more and more mounting up, racing across the digital oceans and is never standing still. Devices and possibilities said to be science fiction just five years ago, are already real. They ease people’s lives, but at the same time they create new compulsions and demands. Demands, which many people feel as sheer excessive demands. Development is proceeding faster and faster because the conditions and accesses for creative heads, also in the field of mobile, have become easier, while the required know-how is becoming more and more complex.
Megan Fox reports of this year’s Computers in Libraries conference (CIL) about current trends in the mobile field, which are not only relevant to programmers, but the whole mobile phone industry. Here are some key points of this appraisal:
Not only the big, high resolution displays and memory capabilities of current smartphones provide a huge area for development. Open Source operating systems like Android, OpenMoko or Ubuntu allow developers today to turn their ideas into applications, detached from technical bottlenecks.
The connection between the physical and virtual world is becoming closer and more fluent: the mobile phone camera makes it possible to bring pictures from reality to the digital world wide data highway and to discover additional information about these pictures. 2D-Barcodes on billboards take the consumers into a virtual area in which they can learn more about a product.
The interaction between human and device, or human and human via a device is becoming more and more sophisticated. Programs such as Jott turn spoken notes into text, which also can be sent, by a few words, to any person via e-mail, because „Life is busy“. Just a few days ago Yahoo improved its search and added voice command.
Room for improvement other ways of interaction have: touch and gestical control lower the difficulty of using tiny displays and keys.
Mobile is different. By now, everybody has understood this and that’s why content is more and more conformed to the demands of mobile phones. Because of these demands, reams of companies have emerged which are specialized in making content appropriate to mobile by order of companies. Two of them are, for example, roundpoint or Mobi site galore.
Also mobile web content differs from “ordinary” web content. Laborious and for most people unthinkable, is to read a whole book at their home pc. Mobile e-books are arriving: still they’re more regarded as a major trend of crazy Japan, but worldwide and in Europe as well, the number of providers is growing. A real book doesn’t fit in every handbag, but a mobile phone does - it is always handy.
Mobile Search in turn is not equal to Online Search. Mobile search needs as results not more links but information bits. Again Yahoo has spotted this need and offers, partly, in the first step of search direct results. Besides searching via voice command is another possibility to attain information text messaging: diet.com for example offers a nutrition service, through which the mobile phone owner sends an SMS with the name of a product of a big restaurant chain to a number and then gets an answer SMS with the nutritive value of this food.
Developments being reality already, at least partly, and those still remaining dreams of the future, according to Megan Fox are:
E-ink paper, an alternative to power-guzzling LCD displays: once a document is loaded, it needs no further electricity to keep on being displayed. Already coveted among managers is the beamer integrated in the mobile phone. It is able to use virtually every wall as a projection screen for presentations or any imaginable rubbish. Many a person is by now afraid of “visual spam”. Already available are 3D wraparound glasses that are e.g. connected to a DVD player and project the movie onto the retina, while contact lenses wirelessly connected to mobile devices which receive texts and information à la Terminator are still an idea of scientists.
A pen remembering everything you scribble on a piece of paper can already be bought. Every written thing is saved and can be transferred to the pc, either in hand writing or block letters (Fly Fusion Pentop, Digiscribble).
Sheer science-fiction and at the same time a horrible vision provides the “tattoo mobile phone” – a mobile phone implemented in the arm, obtaining its energy from the own bloodstream. The own mobile phone is already, at least psychologically, a part of most of people. But turning it into a physical part? An emetic vision. Some time, it will be possible – hopefully not too soon.