One of the predictions I shared with the fine folks at JD Supra and their readers is my belief that we are moving more towards a mobile web experience with our computing lives. I am no Nostradamus – I picked this vibe up from the heavy tech reading that I do and I also know my own personal computing habits and how they have changed over the past few years. Whether your “poison” is an iPhone, Android-based unit, Blackberry, Windows Mobile-enabled device, e-reader or one of those fabled tablet computers, we are pushing the little boxes to their limits and are looking for more.
So I thought I would put together my own mobile wish list for 2010. Things I would like to see happen with my own, personal experience and generally for all mobile computing whizzes out there.
First, and foremost, more voice-activated control over my device. Mobile means, well, mobile. Texting while driving is very very bad, we can all agree. So make the interface better – make it so we can easily, with the touch of a single button, start directing the phone with respect to search (already there), mapping, text messaging and emailing. And none of this half-assed voice control where you can get part of the task done but then have to hunt and peck, copy and paste. All this hullaballoo about a physical versus touch screen keyboard would all go away if we could get a better voice-based interface. Thanks, Dragon, for giving us iPhone users a gentle nudge in the right direction.
Next, location-based awareness. After a heavy-duty case of suspicious paranoia, I am growing to like the location-based applications. Obviously, common sense in using such applications goes a long way here. I would like to see more interactivity with these services. Granted there are lots of iPhone and a growing number of Android applications that employ them. But better integration and more features would be nice. I also see a great outlet for local business with these tools and hope to see more businesses employing the location services to encourage customers and clients. Integrating location awareness with your own Contacts list will push mobile communication further into the future – “gee, where is my client or brother-in-law right now? He should be here at our face to face.”
Mobile shopping – hooking up your payment information with your mobile phone so that you can use it to pay for goods and services. Its coming. We already have built-in bar code reader apps that allow us to pull product and price information. There are a few companies working on mobile payment systems, most recently and notably, Square backed by founder Jack Dorsey. This service will allow anyone to accept a card payment without pricey credit card arrangements with the swipe of a card through a dongle attached to a computer’s or phone’s audio jack. Pretty cool. Let’s see where it goes in 2010.
Let’s speed up the Web! While we already have 802.11 n out there, the iPhone is still using b / g. Why? Mobile means moving, which should mean fast. So let’s beef up the Wi/Fi and Bluetooth (3.0) in these little guys, so they can move with the best of ‘em. And while “they” are at it, please, please, please, help those poor Blackberry users to get a better Web-browsing experience! I never use my Curve’s browser because it hurts far too much.
As more and more of the computing experience moves skyward, we will need the best access possible to the cloud through these mobile devices. Google, a heavy hitter in cloud-based tech, needs to do a better job making access to the cloud easier on platforms other than Android. Little, portable phones and tablets should be gateways to the cloud, offering free and easy ingress and egress. Yet I still struggle with accessing Gmail, my reader subscriptions and cloud-based information on the iPhone. It needs to get better if cloud champions want to win the hearts and minds of the computing public.
The imminent Tablet explosion, heralded by the promised introduction of the highly-rumored Apple tablet, will certainly push the mobile computing envelope. It will be interesting to see what tricks hardware and software developers have up their sleeves to win the wallets and devotion of the tech masses. In short, I hope Apple makes its tablet affordable.
And, at least with respect to the iPhone, there must be a means for multi-tasking. The modern computing generation is not content with performing a single task at a time in a linear fashion. We need to have several jobs running, several irons getting hot in the fire, at any given moment. Why is it that the iPhone can’t or doesn’t provide the ability to do two or more things at once? I don’t buy the battery argument, as there are devices out there that can do it. Perhaps Apple is worried that multi-tasking would open the flood gates on the data-hoggish device and overwhelm poor, little ATT. But that still doesn’t explain why I can’t leave an app open and running while I compose an email. And, while I am at the rant, where the heck is my tethering, ATT??????
Maybe this last one is an impossible dream, but I am sick and tired of getting tied to multi-year contracts when I agree to buy a phone and use a service. Maybe 2010 will see some inroads in this regard. Maybe Google will shake things up a bit with its imminent Nexus One phone. Unlocked cell phones may become the new black of the tech world.
One can dream, can’t one?