Saturday, December 03, 2005

Cellphone Dreams

Last night I had a strange dream. Someone asked me to do a web search on my cellphone. I slowly went through some tiny screens and finally got to Google. I entered a search term (I wish I could remember what it was) and selected "Search".

Cut to the next scene, where all of a sudden the someone and I were now huddled about some kind of very old micro-computer looking at a screen which seemed to be displaying Gopher or Lynx.

Does this say anything about the future of web access via mobile phones?

I hesitate to jump into either of the two futurist camps. One which says that the PC is dead. And the other which says that the cellphone is the future of web access. I have no doubt that handheld devices will play an integral part in our lives, but I can't see the PC leaving us any time soon. Evolving, yes. But dying? No.

For the future of mobile web access, I prefer to imagine a device made of electronic paper which unfolds/unrolls to the page-size of a standard hardcover book (or larger), which hooks up to the web wirelessly, is touch-sensitive, and is very easy on the eyes, both in terms of design and display quality.

I think that was my first tech dream.

3 comments:

oshoma said...

Cryptic dream! I can see mobile phones becoming better audio access and capture devices (music playback + microphone) but for visual applications they are impoverished. I've been hoping someone will figure out how to do really cheap visual projection, e.g. onto flat surfaces like paper, or walls, or physical desk tops. That would open up a huge new range of output devices.

Sean O'Hagan said...

Ah, do you mean using a mini cellphone projector to display an app's gui onto a surface? That would be fantastic! The projected image could be digitally stabilized and the pointer could be controlled by a mini trackball or something. What about text input? I came across a very bizarre but very addictive text input method called Dasher (http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/dasher/). You've gotta try it out if only for the psychelic-ality of it.

Sean O'Hagan said...

I came across Plastic Logic (http://www.plasticlogic.com/flexible_displays.php) very recently. They have some very interesting technology for flexible wireless displays. Wireless connections to PDAs and phones for data display is a feature.