I have been at the annual Qualcomm analyst event and, as you would expect, their vision of our future has a lot of wireless content in it. However, while I typically write a lot of this off as wishful thinking, the opening talks made a lot of sense to me and their vision is causing me to rethink much of what I was thinking was likely to happen.
HTC Droid Incredible
This was likely the easiest jump, because the iPad has already convinced a lot of us that the future of mobile computing is a lot closer to the iPad’s appliance experience than it is the PC experience we ended up with. At the core of this devics is the idea of an always on connection. When you open it up, or light up the screen in a tablet, all of the stuff that happened when you were gone is already automatically updated. Much of the processing is shifted to servers on the network allowing the devices to be always connected, small and light, and still have 10 hours of battery life. Qualcomm imagines an iPad 3G on Steroids and I too think that is where the PC market is going.
Smart Electric Cars
The problem with Electric Cars is that you always need to know where you can go to plug it in, because the needed electric infrastructure isn’t in yet. What was interesting about Qualcomm’s vision is that they felt part of the solution was having a wireless connection into the emerging smart grid so you could plug in anyplace and still have the electrical charges billed to you. The example they gave was one of going over to a friend’s house for dinner, plugging in, but not pissing them off by leaving them with the extra power charge. Same could be said for your place of business and, with this, you could imagine plugs at places like Starbucks where you could stop, get your coffee, do a little work and charge your car.
Extra Smart Smartphones
Forget all you know about what smartphones are capable of and reset. Currently smartphones have a lot of features that most of us don’t use them all, because they are too difficult to use or too hard to discover. Qualcomm’s vision is of a future platform that takes what Apple has done with the iPhone to make things easier and takes it to the natural end of automation and true intelligence.
Pictures you take flow to the on-line services that will manage them automatically, phones transition into remote controls at home allowing you to manage, distribute, and control your media with a remote that is always with you. Transactions that used to use credit cards, a method too easily compromised and used for identity theft, transition to smartphones which can be more aggressively secured and can provide services to better manage your debt and financial assets. One little feature that would have been handy when I was in college is indoor navigation so you can find your way around inside a building.
PAN (personal area network) capabilities that would allow you to attach heart monitors to use while training or to turn the phone into everything from a wireless tape measure to a personal safety version of something like OnStar. Of course, these future phones won’t need charging bricks and could be charged by placing them on a surface in the car, office, or home for wireless charging.
Finally, with augmented reality the phone becomes a window that blends the digital world with the real world and by using the phone’s camera, GPS system, and internal compass, the phone screen can be placed between you and an object to tell you things about an object you didn’t know. Like whether the restaurant you are thinking of eating at is any good, or in a game mode, is full of zombies.
Skifta: Your Media Always With You