Infrared Sensors to make your Touchscreen Obsolete

October 21 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Technology   Year: 2010   Rating: 9 Hot

Tired of mucking about with your touchscreen? Constantly having to worry about scratching the screen in your pocket? Wiping the face of it with your t-shirt to get your greasy finger marks off it? Microsoft may have an answer.

SideSight, a prototype by Microsoft, uses Infrared proximity sensors to determine which way you want to spin or expand the screen of your smartphone. “The sensors can read inputs up to 10 centimeters away, just through reflected infrared light.” This way you can browse through your phone without having to worry about mucking up your screen.

While this technology is limited (for instance, you need a flat surface for the sensors to work), it shows some amazing potential for future phone interactions. By placing sensors all around the phone, you will be able to use your hands directly in front of the screen in order to shuffle through images or browse sites. Being able to tell exactly where your hands are gives you the added bonus of being able to control the interface with individual fingers or your hand position itself, something the touchscreen can only do through physical contact.

Ericsson Expects Cellphones With HD Video Capability by 2012

November 07 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2012   Rating: 6 Hot

Ericsson, one of the largest companies in Sweden, unveiled their plans for a revolutionary new cellphone capable of 20 Megapixel photos and true HD video recording capability.

At the press conference, Ericsson representative Jonas Lundstedt said they see the cellphone of the future as more of a “mobile terminal” than just a cellphone. With the capability to replace objects in our lives with just one great device, Ericsson is following the way of some of the other major players in the cellphone industry by combining services and devices into one simple object.

The day is coming where the cellphone could possibly no longer be called a cellphone, but a terminal like Lundstedt mentioned. When the cellphone can function as a phone, camera, video camera, map, credit card, etc, can we even call it a cellphone anymore? With AT&T recently approving the tethering of the iPhone to other devices such as televisions and other household appliances this forecast isn’t too far off. The all-in-one device may only be a few short years away. Maybe call it a Universal Remote?

via TechOn!

Reuters Poll Shows Industry Leaders Believe Mobile Phone Sales Will Shrink

December 16 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Economics   Year: 2009   Rating: 6 Hot

phonedeath.jpgReuters reports that most leaders in the mobile phone industry see sales plummeting in response to the global economic crisis.  "On average, the poll of 36 analysts shows global market volumes shrinking 6.6 percent next year and 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter -- traditionally the strongest period for the industry due to holiday sales."  The interesting note is that a similar poll in early November saw predictions that the market would grow by 2.6% next year.

We all know the economy is going to crap, so it's not surprising that people are going to stop buying things they don't really need.  For many, that's a brand-spanking new cellphone.  Our culture has become (or always has been) a sort of throw-away culture where if your technology isn't the latest then you're way behind the curve.

iPhone after iPhone is thrown away, replaced by a new one ten times better and sexier, only to get replaced less than a year later.  This economic jolt might be what it takes to get people to start sticking to their stuff, quell the need for the latest and greatest, and stop shopping smartly.  Imagine a phone where you could switch out some of the components instead of buy a whole new product.  Like a computer tower, just upgrade the parts instead of buying a whole computer.  Honestly though, I see this as unlikely.

Image: Tim Psych (Flickr, CC-Attribution)

Rumor Mill: Three Months Later And Already A New G-Phone?

December 22 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2009   Rating: 5 Hot

android-wallpaper2_1024x768.jpgThe Internet is abuzz with people theorizing that a new Google phone from T-Mobile, the G2, will make an appearance late January on the world market.  If true (which it hopefully isn't) this would mean a whole three months passed before a better phone from the same maker breaking the previous record made by the iPhone which stood at nine months.

Although others say it won't appear until April, the idea that a new phone may just be around the corner has got quite a few people heated especially when it "is expected to have a 5-megapixel autofocus camera, VGA camera for video calls, a full touch screen, and Wi-Fi connectivity."  Three months later and already all those extras?

There's a lot going in to play here.  For instance, many thought the T-Mobile G1 was rushed through production even though there was over a half a year of delay in production.  That being said, one might consider a January release as a sign that the first phone pushed onto consumers wasn't the right phone but a rush-job, the rumored one being the phone they should have released first.

If Google wants to keep all the goodwill and support they have from those in the online community who are trying to support their Open-Source venture into the market, they also need to appeal to the consumers buying their Android-powered phones.  If they're smart, they will answer these rumors and hopefully give us a release date somewhere later next year.

via CNET

Foldable OLED Displays For Your Cellphone Are Already Here

November 24 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2009   Rating: 4 Hot

The grainy video you see above is footage of the new Samsung concept phone. While much is not known about it, the video itself is quite amazing simply because it’s the first time a real physical phone has had a flexible display incorporated into it. The best part (for me) was when the phone folded and the keypad was on the other side, gives it a sort of realism to it, like it’ll be available soon.

When can you expect it?

Again, not much information is given about the concept phone, but chances are that you will be seeing it by next summer, winter at the latest. The real question though is whether or not the display is touch-sensitive — a large screen won’t do you much good if you can’t interact with it.

via Engadget

Need WiFi On That Roadtrip? Bring it Along With MiFi

December 10 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2009   Rating: 4 Hot

You've got a laptop, a cellphone, a digital camera and at least one other gadget in your arsenal.  Sadly, only your phone gets internet which costs about $60 a month.  You thought about getting mobile internet for your laptop but that was another $60 plus the cost of the USB drive.  You're tired of hopping from coffee shop to coffee shop looking for internet on trips.  What do you do?

novatel-mifi.jpg

Novatel, a company specializing in mobile information technology, will soon release MiFi, a mobile WiFi system run through cellular phone lines.  MiFi acts as your own personal WiFi system which you can link to from any of your mobile gadgets.  On a road trip you can carry it along for any of your passengers to latch onto.  With a 4 hour life-span or 40 hours on standby, business trips might be just that more bearable.

Hydrogen Fuel Cells — What's Good For Your Car is Good For Your Phone

November 12 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Energy   Year: 2012   Rating: 2

Although there has been much discussion about developing a hydrogen fuel cell for vehicles, a crazy company called MyFC has decided what’s good for the car is great for the cellphone. They went ahead and developed a flexible hydrogen fuel cell only 3mm thick which can fit snugly under your battery cover (pictured above). This means you could potentially power your devices with good clean energy (and who knows how long the charge could last, maybe days).

When can you expect to see this?

Although CrunchGear reports that the fuel cell is “amazingly close to production,” actual support and implementation of such a device could be years away. Here’s why:

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