Jan 24, 2007

Technology Interfaces of Tomorrow

Finally technology is coming close to what I had been dreaming in interface design. Interface being the part of the machine you touch and see. Such as a number keypad on phone, the keyboard/mouse on a desktop personal computer, the joystick/gamepad for video game devices, the touch screen on some Automatic Teller Machines (ATM).

A lot of you by now would have seen Apple CEO, Steve Job's keynote address introducing the iPhone (see previous post). It's an impressive concept and will hopefully serve to shake up the 'Yaaawn' sleepy mobile phone industry - that have been launching very boring devices. However I don't swallow Apple's claim of having 'reinvented' the mobile phone. A lot of parallel impressive initiatives are also due to be launched, but have had their thunder stolen by Apple.

Take LG's Prada phone, which will be launched quietly this year in Europe before the iPhone.

Also, waiting for adoption is Synaptics' Onyx Concept.

All of the above incorporate some form of multi-touch or touch-screen technologies to allow the interface buttons and controls to change depending on the feature being used - a keypad for writing text, number keypad for the phone dialing, play/pause/stop/forward buttons for playing music or video.

A full implementation of multi-touch technology can be seen in a research presentation by Jeff Han at TED in California. This goes beyond just mobile phones.

The future promises foldable screens, Rollout screens, further convergence of features and devices, and more imaginative way to facilitate that convergence.

Other great obstacles in adopting featured portable devices is the battery life and pervasive connectivity. A battery should last at least 48 hours with the gadget being in full use for true portability. Also, mobile connectivity to a telecom network and wireless internet is still very patchy. It is all, in a way, just getting started.

Till all of these technologies become available in the marketplace in some reliable format, I'll may probably stick with my trusty Kyocera 7135.

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