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  1. mgauss's Avatar
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    OK OK we are fixated on the 650. But so much time really has passed that the development of many future models is also in play.

    I wanted to start a long term (but realistic) discussion as to where we are going with these multi phones, in the short, medium and long term, in terms of features, population behaviors, styles and so on.

    For example, keyboard design: is the progression towards Treo like keyboards, MPx like, laser projection, voice recog?

    Screens: the treo is a small screen. Future screens: strech, laser projection, or the same?

    Cameras: what is a resolution that accomodates "true needs"?

    Is the device the key, or is it the monthly service plan the real thing here. The Treo like enthusiast spends a lot more money than the simple phone person, no?

    Palm vs. Windows.

    Etc., etc., etc., what do you think are the critical issues, the "chaos" issues, if you were running these companies, how would you stimulate loyalty, growth?

    Here we take it for granted that features will come. The question is which features and times are critical vs. flexible, key needs vs. luxuries, etc.
  2. #2  
    This is my take...

    Short term:

    Will Palm survive?
    The near future of both PalmOne and PalmSource in uncertain, with competitors of both gaining market share and the market for old-style handheld devices shrinking. There will be a battle for market share among OSs, between MS, Palm, Linux, Symbian (and possibly Blackberry). Not all will survive.

    ... will not change significantly. They will get smaller, then new features will be added, etc., there will be different approaches, just like today. We'll have cheap simple phones and more integrated devices, both in candybar style (Treo 600) and flip-top style (Nokia 9500 or MPX). As OSs like Symbian and MS become more common even on simple phones, new features (which might remain unused by most) will be added.

    ... will remain important in helping handset manufacturers bring successful devices to the market. Even more than now, carriers will launch their "own" devices, produced under their brand by asian manufacturers, who are gaining experience and market share. For smartphone customers however, the devices will have priority over the plans, and affordable flat data rates will be available.

    Medium term

    Screen sizes will not change significantly, resolution will. A 2.2in VGA screen was just introduced, which will find its way into handsets. OLED will replace LCD. Megapixel cameras will become a commodity. Depending on devices like the OQO I belive it won't be too long before we seen smartphones running full-fledged Windows.

    Whichever OS has the largest marketshare will have a significant advantage in getting handset manufacturers to develop new devices based on it. A wider selection of handsets for that OS together with compatibility (of new services) to other devices with the same OS will lead to smaller OSs dying out.

    More services will be offered by carriers in cooperation with OS developers and device manufacturers. Services common in Japan will make their way into western phones. You will be able to enter the subway/bus by waving your mobile in front of a sensor. You'll shop online using your phone and pay directly via your phone bill. You'll be using location-based services for finding restaurants/movie theatres/hotels in your area or to find your way around. You'll be able to allow others to know where you are/have access to your camera to see what you are seeing (phones hanging around your neck). Moblogging will become popular.

    Long term

    With more and more studies proving that mobile usage could lead to cancer (as was recently announced), new standards (post-UMTS) could be established, using less power at lower frequencies. Different sorts of devices will be sold as today. However, second- or third-generation bluetooth (or its competitor) will have lead to a more modular approach. You might still have your phone, which you keep in an outside pocket of your jacket (lined with a protective layer to minimize harmful radiation?). You will have a wireless headset for voice communication, possibly in today's format, possibly with an in-ear speaker and a separate throat (larynx) microphone. One-eyed visors or glasses with built-in displays might become popular. Voice input will become the most important form of data entry. Wireless (bluetooth) keyboards (including display) will be avilable for all phones. Therefore the form factor for individual phones will become irrelevant, as you can choose the kind of keyboard you want. There will be a movement to separate the communications device from human interfaces (display, data entry).

    But that's just my take...

    Looking forward to other opinions...
  3. #3  
    Hehe I've thought lots about this.

    This is what I'd like to see. In the future smartphones would be standard (some would have more functionality then others but all phones would be smartphones) and every phone would have at least bluetooth.

    Currently you can have your treo store all your passwords and credit card details in a secure program (can't remember the name). I want the future to make this standard. So when you are going into a shop instead of getting credit card details, etc out you just beam across the information using bluetooth to buy your goods. This would be a lot easier.

    Then there are other things. IN England phone theft is already big and this would increase it. So I think biometrics should become standard in the future. Make it so all phones have a figure print reader instead (or as well) as a pin number. and Have it so this information is stored on the actual phone not the sim. So stolen phone either will be useless.. or more importantly the data on the phone cannot be got at.

    Then maybe even more in the future. Have shops with wifi and an internal html site. So when you walk into a shop like Marks and Spencers (food and clothes shop) You can browse the shop's contents on your phone. Then you can order the items and pay for them using the card details stored on the phone. And then using GPS. The phone can either guide you to the goods or someone can come and find you.

    I definitely feel that in the future integrated and usable GPS systems should be used.
  4. #4  
    Oh yeah about OSes...

    What I think should and may happen is something like the 'Net frameword and more importantly mono for phones. Rather then there being one standard OS for smartphones like windows is for the PC. I'd prefer to have many different OSes. However, all OSes would support one standard frameword (similar to mono) so any programs written for the PPC would work on a palm, etc. Cosmetic differences would be the main issue. (things like PPC has a start menu and palm has a graffitti pad or whatever). At least the core programming would be the same.

    The reason for this is that phones themselves are so completely different. I think if smartphones ever become a standard then different OSes may be needed to suit different phones.

    Or at least if one OS becomes a standard it needs to be much more easily adapted then PPC and palm OS currently are.

    BTW: only just registered but have been a devote lurker for about a month (since I found out about the 650) Hi guys!
  5. #5  
    Why not just go with phones with pretty colors? Like that nice blue one that Motorola has...
  6. #6  
    Very interesting views here....really enjoyed reading this thread. I gave up on the prediction business long ago. Nevertheless, it is always educational to see what others think the future holds.
  7. #7  
    abookas, your scray! as for devices not changing I couldn't disagree more. This wireless/ multi function/ pocket device that keeps one connected and secondary more organized is huge. We are in the infancy of this industry. Changes will adapt to how we live our lives. As we get older, devices that can alert authorities in emergency situations with gps for location. Devices that can measure blood pressure/heart rates/blood sugar levels, body temprature and transmit the information to doctors.

    For business, devices that already capture email, internet, voice record, organize with built in alarms and capture photos and video may well be able to scan, scan and fax just to name a few. Devices that will become about as obtrusive as a Movado watch, maybe even implanted.

    Wireless communication devices that become more and more intertwined with our daily lives are here to stay and baby you haven't seen nothing yet.
  8. BigTex's Avatar
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    Prediction. PalmSource and Palm 1 will wholely owned subsidiarys of...Apple.
    Waiting for Palm Pre on AT&T then can replace my iPhone. Needs Doc To Go and Flash

    Mutley - Passed 4-18-06. A better friend one could not ask for!
  9. #9  
    Oh yeah and ebooks... which is another big thing people go on about but nothing seems to really happen.

    The implications on our societies if eBooks are succesfully introduced are crazy (as there are loads of essays on the internet about it).

    However would this effect our little treo 9000?

    Well firstly you may get ebook reader with phone capabilities? Personally I think that smartphones need to be small as you need to not notice them in your pocket, where as ebook readers really need to be about the same size as a real book. But being about to download books on the fly would be quite cool? (not really essential I suppose).

    However there are technologies like eInk may effect treos. Just think of the battery life (the bain of all wireless devices) with a screen using eInk instead of LCD?
  10. mgauss's Avatar
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    And what about permanent video/audio taping devices built in? He said she said...he started the fight not me...wouldn't the police want to know who killed who? The eyes of the camera.

    What about privacy? Will there be the equivalent of body search people at airports (who have the perfect right to perform body cavity searches -- as it happened to my aunt and brother in law last month in Miami Airport) -- watching the camera?

    I would rather have a guy looking at my camera record than perform a cavity search on me, and we are already at the cavity search level if they THINK you might be holding 8 ounces of Cocaine.

    I have nothing to hide. But some people go nuts about privacy. Would you want to see or hear the last minutes of a girl who was raped and killed to know WHO did it? What if the phone had it in it but the privacy concern of the girl prevented anyone seeing it.

    Those "diary phone modes" would have to be sending via wifi their diary moments otherwise the killer would steal the phone.

    Only 4 out of 5 murders gets solved. 4 walk away having murdered a daughter or a wife or a son laughing. Privacy? A third of all women are attacked sexually. If this was your daughter, would you want that attacker to be treated in a more than he said she said scenario?
  11. #11  
    Predictions? Well, not a business I usually get involved with, but here goes.
    Short term: I believe we will begin to see handset manufacturers look into purchasing "custom made" OS's from companies like Palm and MS, or at least look at the possibility. Take the Nokia 6225 for example. My mother uses that phone, my father a Treo. The other day he was beaming contacts into her phone via the infrared atop it. How cool is that? Now, I'm quite sure that bit of magic didn't happen by accident. So, I think you'll begin to see more interoperability between "smartphones" and "dumb?" ones?
    Medium Term- Much like the I/R port, I think you'll see the ability to mark a contact in your list for "text", immediately making it available to others via that feature. I have also long believed that biometrics would come into play with regards to security, but the way in which they do this needs to be as simple as possible. I use SplashID religiously, but even it seemed a pain when I have to type in my main password to get access. The cursor doesn't pop up to the field, I have to navigate there. Things like that. Biometrics could become very common place, but people will only use it if all they have to do is touch the pad. If a screen comes up first telling you to touch the pad, then you have to navigate to a selection to activate the pad, half the usefulness will be lost because people want things quick and easy. If you don't give them that, they won't use it, and those of us who did will be left cold because manufacturers will leave it out next time. I also believe that epay, and location based services will be HUGE, but only if the process is inherent. I'm a big fan of Andy Seybold, and like him, I believe "surfing " the web on a handheld is NEVER going to hit big. Do I do it? Of course, but if the information I wanted were available through a program like HandmarkExpress I would much rather get it that way. Now, if only they had customizable channels I could select to get ANY info on the web...(by the way, if someone knows of a program that will do that, pm me)
    Long Term- Who knows? More and more voice interactivity? Possible A.I.? Who wouldn't want "Andromeda" or someone equally sexy, living on there phone? (I know, I know, my "geek" is showing!) I believe it may become standard operating procedure for your phone to ring one day, you answer, and a voice says "Mr. McDonald, your three o'clock is here to see you." or "Mr. McDonald, did you send off those reports Mr. Eldridge wanted?" and you to answer, only to be talking to your PDA's "Assistant" program! How cool would that be?
    Last edited by DrDoom; 10/16/2004 at 04:23 PM. Reason: Sentax
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  12. mgauss's Avatar
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    Now here is a thought. A really great set of software applications that some Treo company provides for free which (still) gives you the option of outputting to other applications but which really secretly becomes a proprietary software people get hooked on.

    For example, I tried my best many times to use certain pieces of software which were supposed to be cool, like ACT! and so on, but I could not get them to help me. Other software programs became my favourites, and I would rather work with them then with the newer "better" ones. For example, (and I know this shows my palentiological age) I still think 123 is 10 times better than Excel. And Q&A DOS (database) is something that I can print out labels and mailmerge letters in 2 seconds, create a whole new database in 5 seconds. Other databases take weeks of learning. Oracle has Oracle University with over 1500 courses. Nice and easy, just 30 years of full time learning???

    So back to the Treo if there were a couple of GREAT softwares that would "run your life" were easy and flexible, which would come free with the device, then when it was time to move I'd be stuck and loyal to the Treo cause the new one would not quite have it.

    Loyalty through software dependence. I'm sure an old thought, but not practiced.
  13. #13  
    Simple prediction: Either the iPod will become a phone, or a phone will become an iPod.

    What makes the iPod neat is that it holds your entire music library. Flash RAM densities continue to rise. At some point, a person's entire music library of compressed audio (20 gig? 40 gig?) will fit on an inexpensive flash chip. Since the phone has to produce audio anyway, storing your entire audio library on your phone becomes an easy and cheap feature to add.

    I suspect that the phone/PDA/whatever will also subsume the role played today by pocket flash drives. Once you've got a lot of storage in the phone, why lug around a separate device?

    One thing phones will NOT replace is typical cameras. Despite increases in sensor sensitivity, a pin-hole sized lens just doesn't capture enough light for high quality indoor photos. You might imaging an "imaging only" camera that uses Bluetooth to store the images on your phone, but the user interface complexity of this will make it undesirable. Cameras will continue to be cameras.

    For a fascinating discussion of what happens when cameras and audio recorders are everywhere, I'd recommend David Brin's "The Transparent Society." In it he argues that cameras are getting so small and cheap, they will be ubiquitous regardless of the law. His argument is that laws should be written to allow ALL citizens access to the camera feeds, not just a select few. Someone must watch the watchers.

  14. #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by mistertreo
    Why not just go with phones with pretty colors? Like that nice blue one that Motorola has...

  15. #15  
    Actually one thing I think would be a good idea possibly is dual booting.

    I definitely agree about the iPod thing. Phones could definitely replace ipods. However there are a few issues (apart from disk space which we know is constantly improving).

    First is battery life. This has always been an issue but I suppose carrying spare batteries might be easier then carrying both an ipod and a phone?

    Anyway the second issue is stability. An iPod is incredibaly easy to us and dependable. But a smartphone can never have the same dependability due to third party apps.

    So I think all purpose phones should be dual bootable. They should make one version of the OS that is completely stable. Make it so no software problem can ever happen with it and load it with all the software needed to make it functional (mp3 players, etc).

    Then have a second version that can be booted up that is almost identical but allows third party apps and upgrades (the first could only be upgraded by official palm, microsoft patches). This second OS would be the default but there would be an emergency backup plan for emergency phone use, emergency mp3 playing, etc.
  16. #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by Yautja_cetanu
    Actually one thing I think would be a good idea possibly is dual booting.
    I have been spending the last 5 days trying to Save my Windows XP after a quite unsuccesful Fedora Core 3 dual-boot attempt....I will be a dual-boot fan if I am able to retrieve all my data tonight, otherwise I remain a major dual-boot opponent...
    <a href="">TerribleMovies.Com</a>
  17. #17  
    Couple of thoughts...

    iPods do have 3rd party apps, so in theory they could become just as unstable over time. It's just that people haven't really pushed a iPod into the absurd directions that traditional computers or smart phones have been.

    I don't completely agree that cameras will still be cameras. Maybe for photographers that will be the case. For the rest of society that hasn't taken a photography class, their phone will be their everyday camera. Phones will be designed to let in more light than just the pinhole and they will include flashes and megapixels will forever continue to rise. I don't see a limit to MPs much as I don't see a limit to processor speed.

    GPS will be integrated and it will change the way people do a few of their daily tasks.

    There will be video out in the phones so that they can be easily docked like the OQO. And yeah, I guess they'll probably run full OSes that you find on your computer. The thing is that you'll be able to carry your computer around with you everywhere.

    Entire cities will be wired for free wifi (Phili is doing this now) which means that people won't be at the mercy of paying carriers $100 a month for the new super fast connection -- unless you are traveling, you will do fine with a DSL/Cable speed for $15 month.

    And the phones will of course come in any pretty color you like.
  18. #18  
    mistertreo said pretty colors :-D
  19. #19  
    I thought I'd toss a few out there for comments that I've been thinking about. I think a lot of them are dependent on getting high bandwidth phone connections, the way broadband enabled many PC's to have some of these functions.

    Media Centers - This concept could catch on. Already, we have home media centers and portable items that can take data from it (MP3 players, the new "media boxes", etc.). In the same way the phone got tied to to the PDA, I suspect we'll get there with media. Stream down-converted video from your Tivo-like device to your phone, pull MP3's from your home media system instead of downloading, etc. Could also Bluetooth (or some derivative) into car-based audio and video systems, using the phone as a mass-storage device to take your entertainment with you.

    Video - Stronger use of video on phones. This could be how video phones will actually catch on! No one wants to sit in front of a tethered video screen, but with VGA quality screens on a portable phone with speakerphone and a camera, why not? Seems like another item that could start as a novelty, and progress to something useful. See above for integration of this into home media centers (or just auto-uploads of videos like Picture Mail works today).

    Death Of Hotsynch - I think the Palm apps (calendar, mail, todo, etc.) will soon be dead. Why "synch" when you can have an always-on link to your email and calendar at work / home? This is already becoming the case with things like Seven's client (aka Business Connection) - it really makes having a separate calendar and email client pointless. Palm should push this support into the O/S, and get rid of the Palm desktop and hotsynch functionality. Between flash backups and over-the-air synch, it just isn't needed.

    Automatic Integration - Lay your phone beside your laptop, and you can now use the screen, mouse, and keyboard to manage data in your phone, just like it was in the laptop. Get into your car, and you can use the radio tuner to select MP3's or videos, and the speakerphone integrates with the car's audio system. Possible today, just awaiting execution.

    Force-Fed Content - Somehow, the providers will have to pay for all of this. I'm guessing we'll see more and more data force-fed to the phones, probably with some advertisements. Or maybe "premium" features will be given away free with advertisements in them, like TV broadcasts or GPS-like location services.

    Business Servies - Nothing revolutionary. VPN client software will become more and more important as functionality grows. Something like Terminal Services for Windows ported to the Palm platform would be hot (run apps on your desktop with the UI on your palm). "Agent" software could become useful - back to the original Personal Digital Assistant idea, software that could analyze your patterns and data and make recommendations to you, rather than just remind you of things you've thought about and recorded before. Navigation software will become standard, as the GPS chipsets and the phone companies battle it out for location services.

    Hardware-wise, I agree with earlier posters - there's not much that can be done that won't totally alienate mainstream users. I think camera resolutions and quality will inch up, the screens will get better, phones will get marginally smaller, and the battery life will remain largely constant. Short, medium, and long range connectivity will be built in (e.g. BlueTooth, WiFi, and PCS), and the phone will adapt based on best-use. Dual screens with touch will be standard. I'd like to see the laser keyboard built-in, but that's a stretch.
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