Over the past 4 months I have been fortunate enough to be working with Amazon and a small team of AVG developers to develop some of the AVG apps to the new Amazon Fire phone. With the public shipment of the phone and the AVG AntiVirus for Android and AVG Alarm Clock Extreme apps this week I am in a reflective mood on what does the future of mobile technology look like.
The Amazon Fire phone got my interest when the prototype was delivered to our offices several months ago and with a small team we looked at how we could develop using all the features of the phone.
One of the most innovative features of the Fire phone is the ability to track head movement through four front facing cameras, so you move your head the image in the screen moves with you.
While AVG makes some great software, I started thinking about the many other applications for a technology such as this. Games will become more immersive; imagine a shooter game that allows you to peek around a corner by moving your head!. Finding the right product for you could also become easier. Imagine facial expression software that can make suggestions on whether you liked what you were looking at. Your phone could tell you that of the 50 pairs of shoes you just scanned through these are the ones that made you happiest. The possibilities are endless.
What is interesting about most of the current generation of handsets though is that they are getting bigger and this is to provide the best user experience, whether streaming video, social networking, browsing or uses GPS maps on the device. Amusingly someone I know pointed out that clothing manufacturers started making clothes with bigger pockets 20 years ago as phones appeared on the market and people wanted to carry them. As phones shrank, pockets returned to normal, yet today our phones are getting bigger again.
Amazon is not the only company pushing new boundaries. Google Glass explored new frontiers with wearable technology and while I think the market is still trying to work out its use, I am sure it’s not so difficult to envisage a surgeon wearing them and having assistance from a remote consultant or a security guard at an airport using them to run facial recognition on passengers.
One of the most ingenious uses of wearable or technology I have seen in the last year though is from Skully Systems, which puts a map display in the visor of a motorcycle helmet, this saves the rider from looking down on the handlebars as they can see the map right in front of them.
My opinion on all these very clever technology advances is that they are all fundamentally functional. While some of them like the heads-up helmet are obvious, some tech such as headsets or phones are yet to nail down which emerging technology will take them into the future. I think in the next few years we will see lots more wearable or personal technology, some will find a useful place in our lives and others are destined to become collectable curiosities and become tomorrow’s online auction items (so keep the packaging).