here comes tomorrow
mobile phones have a lot in common with personal computers insofar as they are
subsuming the functions of other gadgets. Take camera phones, initially they
were a joke with their VGA just barely good enough for e-mail resolutions.
Today you have Sony selling CyberShot phones with 3 megapixel cameras. Similarly
you have phones that play music and store thousands of songs on teeny-tiny mobile
hard drives. Web browsing and the ability to view documents have been around
for quite a while.
Keeping all of the above in mind, whats left? To get a clue on where mobile
phones are headed lets look at some of the other miniature gadgets that
are around. Im talking about gizmos like the PVPro, a 62cc projector,
that works with mobile phones and uses miniature lasers to display images. Imagine
something like that built into your phone and youll see that it would
make for a formidable presentation tool. Or take the case of the Space Cube,
a 2 by 2 by 2.2 inch PC, thats right a 300 MHz, 64 MB honest to goodness
computer, albeit underpowered, thats about the size of a paperweight.
Now imagine similar capabilities built into your next phone. The mind boggles.
As if thats not enough, you have phones that are getting smarter at recognising
your voice. They need to be trained by reading out a hundred or so words and
then your word is their command. Take this a little further and youll
have phones that use their cameras to recognise your face and authenticate you
ensuring that nobodys going to bother to try to steal your phone as it
wont work for anybody else. The same phone would take dictation, let you
access your companys ERP system and let you make impromptu presentations
at your clients office.
This isnt science fiction, its all coming by the end of this decade.
Think of where GPS might help with a map on your phone that directs you to your
destination. Or perhaps even an AI that acts as your secretary scheduling your
appointments and covering for you when someone you want to avoid calls. The
question is, will you need a computer anymore at this point? My guess is that
you wont because by that time your phone will be your computer for all
practical purposes. So heres to tomorrows phone. It cant get
here soon enough for me.
Prashant L Rao
Head of Editorial Operations