Mobile Computing

So what is the right approach to mobile computing as we go forward. So far we have seen the rise and fall of the palm pilot, personal organizers, the pager, the blackberry (Some would argue) all replaced by the smart phone. The smart phone has transitioned from a brick like walkie-talkie to a small star trek flip communicator and then back to a a sizable much thinner brick like the iPhone. Phablets like the Samsung note give users a larger viewing area but look pretty stupid if you try to hold them up to your head. Some people avoid the funny looks by pairing their phablet with a blue tooth device so they can have the advantage of a readable screen and a phone.

What happens when a significant percentage of communication includes a video channel?

Now that we have reviewed the history, lets look at one specific application? We have organizations like QNX and Apple teaming up with car companies to make cars smarter with embedded systems. I think if they took a moment to review history they would find that embedded systems usually have a short life span. Why not combine your mobile device with your car? The smart phone just keeps getting smarter and it could double as a security device (Your key) as well as the intelligence to tell you when something is wrong. The software industry that supports app development for smart phones is fully engaged and would love to be able to develop apps that would leverage the systems found in your car.

Smart phones have integrated GPS, Maps, Motion Sensors, Cameras, Network connections and various other things that cars simply don’t have. As a buyer I certainly don’t want to pay car manufacturers for duplicates of these things that I already own. Car manufacturers also have a bad habit of producing dumbed down versions of more intelligent systems while charging a premium for having them in your car.

I believe that next generation cars should have docking systems for smart phones that leverage smart phone peripherals to improve the motoring experience. The phone should be able to tell us based on fuel consumption, if we are about to pass a gas station that will result in the car running out of gas. The phone should be able to project a heads up display that will enhance the data available to the driver. The car should be able to power to phone so that systems like the GPS can be constantly on. Cars should come with built in hands free communication systems that connect to the phone (Probably using bluetooth). Cars should provide integrated support for playing music from the smart phone. If the phone is not in the car, the car should not start.

Why would you design suri into a car when you could just dock your phone and use the version of the software that you already own? Any app that runs on your phone should work in your car and any app that runs in your car should work on your phone. By exposing automotive systems to app designers, motorists would be able to benefit from the creative minds of billions of app designers and auto manufactures would be able to collect stats on how their cars are used and abused.

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