What do smartphones, holograms, fridges and origami have in common? All of these could someday factor into the future of smartphones.
I came across an interesting article featuring two new concept smartphones from eYeka, "a crowdsourcing company that specializes is 'online co-creation' of products," wrote Richard MacManus of ReadWriteWeb.com (May 18). Like concept cars, these exist only as design ideas for now.
Although we've seen plenty of blue-sky gadgets come across our newsfeeds, these seemed to explore newer directions.
The first video features a puck-like device that would project holograms for communication and information display, and harvest contextual data from the devices nearby or the object it is attached to. They mention connecting it to a fridge to find out what products are missing. It would use voice commands and gestures as inputs -- completely doing away with hardware key inputs or traditional screens.
The second video features a flexible, foldable device. As one of my colleagues described it, "It's origami!" In it's smallest state, it can act like a traditional smartphone that we are familiar with today. Unfold it to take advantage of larger input surfaces (gaming controls, for example). Unfold it yet again to gain an even larger screen for larger keypad functions and viewing 16:9 hi-def videos.
These devices reinforce the importance of contextual awareness and adaptability of smartphones. Their adaptable forms allow them to better perform a wider variety of functions. And the fact that they "know" about the physical context surrounding them means they can offer up helpful information specific to the time and space, like: "Hey John, your milk is about to go sour."
Using them as phones will be such a small set of its functions. Maybe a new name is required. How about (because we're Canadian) "Super Pucks"?