Maybe this is obvious, but I think that mobile technologies are so great because everything about them is so new. People are still trying to predict the future and figure out the best way to use interconnected devices and every day it seems that there's another application of the technology that surprises you. And yet there's so much more to be done.
This weekend and this morning, for example, I read a few different posts which made me really stop and think. The first was this outline from the Mobile HCI conference in Italy. It just briefly goes over some of the main points gathered from the speakers from various top tier manufacturers. Most are questions and suppositions about the future. Examples:
Mathias Schneider-Hufschmidt, Siemens: Mobile phone is more than a browser or an information device. If manufacturers all have different UIs, how can service providers create apps for all of these? - need some standardisation whilst keeping emotional value of UI.
Harri Kiljander (director of UI), Nokia: Content management - how do we manage, use ~1 Gb of content on a mobile?
Boris de Ruyter, Philips Research: Technology is not the problem. Lots of tech: storage, bluetooth, zigbee, better displays. The challenge is to find the right applications. Focus on applications scenarios.
Matthias Hilpert, Orange: Only in the last 6 months have we realised we need to work more closely between operators, devvice manufacturers and software vendors. UI of components is degraded if we don't work together. Customers can't handle the complexity of new services.
Bruno von Niman, Ericsson (systems, not SE): Segmentation of user needs - we don't all want the same things. Complexity - hidden behind simplicity!? (simplexity)
Q&A: How do we help an ordinary end user becoming an expert user? Whos job is it?
HK: I don't want to be an "expert" of my car, hate features I cannot use automatically, don't want to read the manual. We have made something wrong if we force people to be expert users.
MH: we launched the 7650, call centres under fire for the usability of the phone (many phones like this), majority of the help comes from network operator side - this is very expensive. Ways of addressing this: self-help, FAQs, website, or use the UI of the phone itself to come up with basic help functionality linked to online functionality. Also, Switzerland launched much help through retails stores - lectures, night classes, and in the UK people encouraged to come into stores. Need is valuable, and people will pay for it. Effort however should be in making it easier in the first place so they don't need that help.
BvN: levels of usage patterns has increased dramatically in the last 15 years, convergence of calendar etc. into mobile, in all segments; users evolve.
I love that word, "simplexity". Anyways, that and more (check out the rest of Chris' blog for more). Love that Q&A sample above...
After this, the other good article (post?) was on The Feature which suggests that content won't be king on mobiles, but contact. I've had similar thoughts, but I've always put it in terms of content: I think the content that mobile users will be most interested in is content produced by other mobiles. That's because I've been brainwashed in the drive towards content (since content is king), but the fact is that what I'm talking about is exactly what Douglas is talking about in his article: contact. It's a nice shift of perspective.
And finally, this morning, Michael Juntao Yuan blogs about the Austin Game Conference about different types of games that the major developers are targeting. Nice overview, but my thought is "aren't there more?" You know those wildly popular "dance" video games? 10 years ago, who would have thought they would be so popular? What category would you have put them in? That's what I'm thinking about now. Maybe there's a new type of game out there that isn't in a category yet...
Michael also heard that the Nokia 6600 will be available *next month* in the U.S. Wouldn't *that* be awesome.