So, we now live in a world where a large amount of the worlds population own a mobile computing device. I don't call them smartphones anymore. Not because I am being smart about it, or trying to be cutting edge. Yes, these devices we use can be used to make telephone calls, but I'm willing to bet a lot of money that generally most of us use them to get our emails on the go and update the plethora of social networking sites we all use for whatever reason. For that reason alone, they are fast becoming more computing device than phone...
When I was younger in the days before satellite TV, Britain only had four terrestrial television channels and they all turned off once a day at around midnight. Kids TV was only on from 3.30pm till 5pm and then grown ups wrested control of the remote back from our hands. I remember after 5pm, I would switch from BBC1 to BBC2 and enjoy re runs of the original Star Trek with William Shatner et al. Bones would take the infamous "Tri-corder" to analyse things and wounded red shirted crew members on distant planets. I marvelled at the idea that it was possible to diagnose things using a little box and often wondered if that kind of science fiction would ever become science fact.
We are nearly there you know. Right on the edge of it in fact. Courtesy of messrs Android, Apple, Blackberry and sundry others, you can now hold in your hand a device that you can point at the world and it will tell you where you are and where the nearest shop is. You can talk to it and it will search for things for you on the internet. It will have apps on it for thousands of different purposes, you can read books on it, if you are lazy, you can listen to books on it too. You can shop on it, sell things with it, download things to it and share things with other people on it.
The smartphone has made other items redundant. Primarily the camera. My digital camera and HD camcorder are gathering dust in the drawers, I have a Sat/Nav that I no longer use and I only use my netbook to blog. How far away are we from not needing the bigger, purpose built items we once used daily?
I say not too far at all. Google are developing a pair of glasses that you can talk to and will give you a "heads up display" in the corner of your vision that can send messages, take photos, tell you the weather and browse the internet. That blows my mind. A light keyboard has been developed that will shine a facsimile of a keyboard on a flat surface when plugged into a device. No more two-thumb typing. There is a very clever man that has invented a robotic hand that can be manipulated via an internet connection from the other side of the world. Yes, that has been possible for a while you may think, but this hand can tell him how hard and soft he is touching something. It feeds back the information to his fingers in a special glove. Think of the benefits. Need a heart bypass in London, but the surgeon is unavailable for some reason? No worries, there is one in Tokyo or somewhere that can carry out the operation using these hands over the internet in real time. That is possible now. Augmented reality is real and not the stuff of science fiction. It really is science fact.
Awesome or creepy, you decide. It's here though, and it's here to stay.
See you tomorrow for something completely different.