Is the time here yet? It's the same question I asked at Macross-Frontier earlier today. I love gadgets. I've had the Palm III, Palm V, skipped a couple of models and now I've got the Zire 72.
I also took back a Dell Windows Mobile handheld I bought my brother who has long since moved onto other handhelds himself. Currently, I've got a unlocked and jail-broken iPhone that I use with T-Mobile. Personally, I love to hear how others who has Blackberries, Treos, or any other smartphones feel about their mobility.
The few people I know who are armed with Blackberries have said "it does what its suppose to do". You can't get a better endorsement than that. Honestly. For a couple of blackouts a few months ago, the Blackberry service is excellent by most standards. Wish the airlines work that way.
I personally like the iPhone and the Treo because of the user interface both offers. One offers a screen-based keypad while the other uses a standard physical QWERTY layout. The touch-based selections of both phones allow me to avoid scrolling much. I do think touch-based screens are the way devices are headed. However you may or may not like iPhone's onscreen keyboard, it works well enough but the flexibility offers the user to use the screen in full or at half screen when you're typing. It works well enough.
So full touch screen. Isn't that what those pads in Star Trek are like? I have also seen many such devices in anime. After all, the Japanese designers and engineers are very good at miniaturization for many years now.
Some smartphones now have GPS and, soon, it should be in most phones sold on the market in one fashion or another.
To sum it up, the follow are features that the first decade of the 21st Century mobile device should have:
- Ubiquitous network access
- Music and Multimedia player
- Simple office-type document access
- Better battery-life
- Access to a cloud system for more storage and processing power
- Still picture and video capture
- Video-chat along with the standard messaging systems (SMS, e-mail, IM, etc.)
The screen should be depend on the type of devices. So, let's get into the types of mobile gadgets I'm talking about here.
Phone (candybar, flip) Like today's phone, the screen should be complete touch-screen, perhaps on both sides so that when the user is hold it, the finger in the back can also access features. 2"-2.5" screen would suffice. It's limited to almost text-based information with little or no graphical interface. I've done texting on a keypad. It's no go for me. The screen should offer a keyboard though it'll be kind of cramp and not really for writing a long letter or writing the next screenplay (yes, I know people in Japan have written whole novels on their phones with the numerical keypads. I'm impressed but it's just not for most people).
Smartphones Your standard HTC, Treo, or Blackberries. But more like today's iPhone, it works as we know it but with more connectivity and access to a cloud system for storage and processing power. The screen should be from 2.5" to 3.5". I'd try to squeeze in a 4" screen but you'd need a Jonathan Ives-caliber designer to do it right. It will have all the features I've listed above.
Smartpads Think of the Star Trek pads or those you might see in anime. They've got a 5" and up screen. Of course, the screen cannot be too big or otherwise, it defeats the true nature of real mobility I'm talking about here. How is this different from just being an oversized smartphone? Real estate. As in the size of the screen. It'll function well as an ebook reader. I love to see a full page of text rather than quarter or even half a page.
Plus, you can see with the bigger screen, it'll allow you to create split screens. What do I mean by that? Suppose you're in a video conference with someone working out of her home and another guy in NY (because you're a mobile warrior, you can be anywhere you want to be), you can see both person while at the same time, maybe even be working on a document with them. Or you can be surfing the web while watching a video by splitting the screen in half.
Laptops I don't see why laptops cannot have all the needed features I have listed above. Today, most laptops are tethered to an outlet or places where there are WiFi or ethernet jacks. Unless you have paid wireless access through a wireless mobile provider, you are confined to your work, home, or a Starbucks. A GPS may not be needed but it's good to have. You may never know when you really need it. I see that a lot of laptops today have a wecam built-in but I really would like to see it on all laptops. The keyboard should be done away with and replaced with a flat surface for a true multi-touch experience. I think you can appreciate something like this. It make take a while to get used to only because we have been conditioned to have a physical keyboard on our laptops. It doesn't have to be the case.
So, there you have it. I've created my anime-style mobile device. As you can see, it not too far-fetched. The only thing that maybe hold us back is the battery-life as I have mentioned in the other blog. With new technology like Intel's Atom chip, a brand new mobile platform will be born. It's what the UMPC was meant to be but failed miserably at.
I don't care if it's Apple, Nokia, or Microsoft. Someone freakin' built these things already!