Friday, March 20, 2009

The 6th sense

By Andrew Till
For a glimpse of what maybe the future of wearable technology take a look at this video of Pattie Maes at the TED conference recently.
The demo developed in Pattie Maes' lab at MIT, by her student Pranav Mistry, was the coolest show-off at TED. It's a wearable device with a projector that beams interactive information at a surface in front of the user. I'm sure some of these concepts will be making their way in to new consumer electronics devices in the not too distant future. I think the world is ready for this. But naturally a very challenging development project to get both the information access and the UI to make it all usable. It is internet convergence at it's peak! At maximum 350 USD, it is on my list of wanted geek stuff!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Does Apple open up?

By Andrew Till
This weeks announcement by Apple of its iPhone 3.0 software suggest that the company maybe moving towards a more open future. At the core of the announcement was 1000 new APIs to be made available to developers suggesting that Apple is opening up a lot more of the operating system moving forwards. Included in these will be new accessory control APIs enabling hardware vendors to create companion applications for the iPhone. Apple also announced 100 new features which will be part of the release including stereo Bluetooth support and peer to peer connectivity over WiFi and Bluetooth. Looking at these new APIs combined with the new built in feature set Apple is enabling a developers to create a new bread of compelling mobile applications and peripheral solutions to support the iPhone and iPod Touch range. The challenge is now on to see how the other key platform providers respond.

Oh and perhaps the most significant part of the announcement - good old copy and paste will also be part of the 3.0 release!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

3U mantra for Smart phones

By Chandrashekar Challagonda:
I was walking through the MWC-2009 halls observing all the booths and trying to understand how everyone tries to promote their product or service. After being around for 4 days I figured that most of those who are exhibiting and visiting are hungry for "Uniqueness". Well again, if we relate this to human evolution, it has been observed that human beings are quite "Unique" compared to other living beings. We are unique in every manner on this earth. High intelligence: This is unique for human beings. It’s in basic human nature to be instinctively unique. My cousin who is a fashion designer said to me once "Being fashionable is nothing but being unique". I kind of agree with her statement, because the only way to get noticed and draw more attention is by being unique from the crowd. If I apply this analogy to smart phones, everyone is trying to make their product unique. The way they are doing it is by having a killer feature or Unique UI. So it’s all about creating a phone which is unique. After all "Uniqueness is publicity by itself".

After first thinking about "U", I kind of drew my attention to another "U", which is "Usability". We are of course attracted towards the Uniqueness, but what is the use of it, if we can not use it. Usability is nothing but how good and comfortable the User Experience is. There are lots of technologies in the world which are excellent and unique who just died because of poor usability. Usability has always stayed top of my list for any feature or technology. This is the 2nd level of requirement to make the product more promoting. "Uniqueness" can turn heads, but to keep and retain the attention of that turned head; it needs to have the "Usability".

Sometimes I get nostalgic and remember the day when I first saw a phone, which weighed about 2-3kgs, was connected by a wire to some plug in the house and where you needed to hold a big door handle kind of speaker and mike near to your face and to speak. I was very happy when my father could hear me and I could hear him, hundreds of kilometers away from me. But now it’s totally different, phones are wireless and mobile and do more than the old phones used to do. To be more precise voice communication is only a 1% of the full phone features nowadays with lot of features and functionalities "Unified" in it. Now this is the 3rd "U" mantra “Unification”. Smart phone users are demanding more and more functionality and features to be unified in the smart phone. I personally would like to have a unified access to all my office and personal mails, applications which I use daily and paying bills through my smart phone. This unification of features and functionality is happening very aggressively in the APAC market, more so than in rest of the world. Smart phones are more versatile than any other electronic gadget when it comes to unification.

So these Uniqueness, Usability and Unification are the 3 key properties which are the success factors for the smart phones. The more extensively these properties are provided in smart phones the broader the market segment it will cover.