Text Offender (digigasm) wrote,
Text Offender

  • Music:
I want to start an open source hardware project based around the holy grail, convergence (my, hasn't that word gained a stigma?). I know, "Convergence? How 90's!" But stay with me.

The problem with convergence, so far, has been that we've been trying to converge the wrong shit. Who really listens to mp3's on their DVD player?

Cameras on phones? Basically taking webcams to the next level. Webcam and phonecam photographs are small, grainy, and boring. I don't think this trend will make any significant social impact unless the overall quality improves. I'm going to try to prove myself wrong tomorrow and try to find groups doing progressive shit with the tech. I think cameras on phones are doomed anyway because of the privacy and IP problems. In a few years, you're going to get patted down before being allowed admittance to a movie theater. And they won't be looking for weapons. It will start with the movie theaters and then policies will start changing everywhere. You'll be forced to give up your phone, your communication gateway, just because it has a camera on it. The problem will only worsen as the tech improves.

I don't think people will want to give up their phone. I think once these "No Phone Zones" are in place, people will start buying more camera-less phones. Until wearables become more widely utilized.

My agenda is to promote wearable computing. My gateway drug is the cellular phone.

I think one of the largest barriers to the wide acceptance of wearable computers is that you look at somebody using one and you immediately think "I'd never go out wearing that!" Cellular phones are helping to change that.

It is common to see people driving, shopping, walking with headphones, earphones, or headsets. I can't ignore the Walkman's contribution. I've read Apple's success with the ipod being described as a phenomenon. I think it just supports what Sony proved in the 80's. People want to have audio with them. Everywhere.

Based on personal experience, I can say another thing people want with them everywhere is a cell phone. This trend shows no sign of slowing.

Merging computers or even PDAs with phones is an experiment that so far hasn't produced anything ideal. I've got some theories for why. Computers and PDAs are more visual and tactile. Computers allow you to see a lot of information and they allow you to input a lot of information. The reason the interface (monitor, keyboard, mouse) hasn't changed much is because it works and it works well. Any compromise in the interface results in a less pleasurable and slower performance.

Cell phones, like Portable Audio Devices (PADs) are audiocentric tools that we'd prefer not to have to touch or see very often. PADs and cell phones share another characteristic in that neither needs much in the way of physical interface. A pair of headphones, microphone, a dozon or so dedicated buttons, and maybe a few soft buttons.

It seems natural to me to blend the PAD and the phone.

And how's this for an idea? Open source the firmware. Let people implement their own features and add their own customizations. I've seen no faster way to push the envelope, baby. And the envelope needs pushing.

Imagine listening to your Skynyrd or Celtic Moods. You get a phone call. You whisper "answer" or "pick up" or "go". The music fades out and your caller fades in. When the conversation ends the music continues where you left off.

Imagine setting your phonePAD to transmit and detect other phonePADs. Imagine looking up and eavesdropping on other phonePADs in the proximity.

With the right hardware and open software there's no limit to the progress that can be made.

Wearable computing is the Crystal Palace and the phonePAD is the yellow brick road.

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