Think of this as R&D in real time. Says Nokia:
Spotting an opportunity to make their phones more indispensable to consumers, Nokia is investing in crowd sourcing. It sees the most promise in services that leverage global positioning system (GPS) technology, mapping and the mobile Web.
People are using their cellphones to review restaurants, share their favorite hometown hangouts, discover new jogging routes, even dodge speeding tickets…”Mobile is about pushing that even further out to the ultimate edge: an individual, at all times, with his device.” Such crowd-sourced applications point up the power of mobile networks to relay data in real time. “Nearly everyone has a mobile that they carry with them all the time,””Phones are perfectly suited for this type of automated reporting, and potentially a much more pervasive device than the online Web.”
How will they go about using crowd sourcing in developing smart applications? Well, consider this:
Crowds are now being tapped to develop mobile applications before they reach consumers. Mob4Hire connects developers with new applications with tech-savvy testers around the world. Founder Paul Poutanen estimates there are 12,000 different cellphone models and 700 different wireless carriers globally, forming a byzantine system that can take two years to navigate. Mob4Hire’s decentralized system helps developers deliver new applications to consumers faster and catch bugs along the way.
Honestly, the coolest thing about this is the real time nature of the testing. Crowd sourcing seems to be the most organic extension for testing out these so called smart applications, and it will be interesting to see what new projects come along, as more developers jump onboard.
A bit of local news from my neck of the woods – the Gunwharf shopping centre (read as: ‘retail outlet experience’, or just ‘mall’) in Portsmouth is keeping a close eye on its customers by tracking their movements via their mobile phone signals. [image by A Magill]
A spokesperson explains that we shouldn’t be concerned: there’s no personal data captured, they’re just looking at what he charmingly refers to as ‘slug trails’:
“We can also see where people aren’t going or are not spending much time and can flag that up to businesses. We are trying to make the experience of shoppers better. If they are having a better experience they obviously spend more money and the shopping centre is happy.“
The shopping centre may be happy, but the local population – now alerted to the matter – aren’t. Whether any of them will transcend their apathy enough to stop shopping there remains to be seen, however. In the meantime, I think I’ll set up a stall outside selling tin-foil phone sleeves …
Via m1k3y of grinding.be I hear the rumour that US mobile telco Verizon will begin offering cellphone handsets based on Linux operating systems alongside the usual proprietary offerings next year.
Though it may not be immediately apparent, that’s good news for more than just the OS-OS wonks. Why? Because it opens up the cellphone software market to those unable or unwilling to buy an API licence for a proprietary system, and allows people to build on a reliable platform. [image by khedara]
It’s not a perfect situation, of course – individual carriers and handset makers will be able to control the operating system’s capabilities. But hey, if the iPhone got hacked that quick, a Linux-based handset is going to crack like an eggshell …
Exciting times in the world of electronics as phone company Nokia have designed a wearable, flexible phone. Resembling a normal handset folded in half, when fully unrolled it can be used as a keyboard but it can also be folded lengthways and widthways and curled into a bracelet to wear on the wrist.
Although current battery technology isn’t good enough to join this flexible technology revolution as improvements in nanowire batteries and even static electricity generating clothing could mean that in ten year’s time we wear our phone/mp3 player/personal computer on our sleeve and link up our headphones to it wirelessly.
[image and story via the Guardian]
The next big frontier for the software and web corporations is in your pocket – your mobile phone. But have you ever wondered why exactly the search giants like Yahoo and Google are so keen to get access to your handset? Sandy Pentland, an MIT researcher, explains in an interview at Technology Review:
“It knows where you are, and this is obviously sort of useful. But the generalization is that maybe it can know lots of things about you. Take your Facebook friends as an example. The phone could know which ones you socialize with in person, which ones are your work friends, and which friends you’ve never seen in your life. That’s an interesting distinction, and reality mining can make it automatic. It’s about making the “dumb” information-technology infrastructure know something about your social life. All this sort-of Web 2.0 stuff is nice, but you have to type stuff in.”
Quite. But as Nicholas Carr points out, that’s not quite as utopian as it might initially seem:
“… it’s easy to see the vast commercial value of automatically harvesting a continuous stream of data on a person’s location, activities, relationships, and social roles and using it to personalize services and advertisements or, in the extreme, manipulate behavior for profit-making ends.”
Well, it’s not like we’re unused to having our behaviour analysed and manipulated for commercial purposes … or to the idea that external agencies can spy on us by subverting our gadgets. But the point is that technologies in their default states are making it much easier – rather than rejecting Big Brother, have we instead slipped him into our back pocket? [Image by Milica Sekulic]
[tags]reality mining, phones, surveillance, technology[/tags]