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The Shape of Things to Come

This is from my weekly newspaper column, hence the lack of links. By Jeremy Wagstaff We’re all touch typists now. Of course, the definition of touch type has had to change a little, since most of us don’t actually learn touch typing as we’re supposed to. Watch people tapping away at a keyboard and you’ll see all sorts of cobbled-together methods that would make the office secretary of yesteryear blanch. But for now keyboards are going to be with us for a while as the main way to get our thoughts into a computer, so some sort of touch typing is necessary. But the mobileContinue readingThe Shape of Things to Come

Bye Bye, Laptop?

The day seems to be getting closer when we can do something that would seem to be pretty obvious: access our pocket-sized smartphone via a bigger screen, keyboard and a mouse. Celio Corp says it’s close. Celio Corp have two products: their Mobile Companion (pictured above), a laptop like thing that includes an 8″ display, a full function keyboard, and a touchpad mouse. At 1 x 6 x 9 inches and weighing 2 lbs, the Mobile Companion promises over 8 hours of battery life and boots instantly. After loading a driver on your smartphone you can then access it via a USB cable or Bluetooth.Continue readingBye Bye, Laptop?

Pocket Lockets

videocapture from myTreo.net Here’s something that caught my eye from CES: D.A.V.E. from Seagate. Despite its awful name (it stands for Digital Audio Video Experience) it’s a great idea. It’s basically a small 60 GB external hard drive but it’s small (65 x 90 x 16 mm) and light (106 grams) and connects to a smart phone via WiFi or Bluetooth. The devices contain a USB port for uploading data (and presumably can use a wired connection from smartphones too, should the need arise.) As Tadd Rosenfeld of myTreo.net puts it: We believe DAVE is a game changer. With the introduction of 1 gigahertz smartphoneContinue readingPocket Lockets

The Failure of the Smartphone Interface

I still don’t understand why people think that a stylus is a good thing, or that mimicking a Windows environment — designed for navigation by mice and other pointy things — is regarded as a worthy goal for mobile devices. Take what Walt Mossberg, who has emerged as something of an expert on the new Treos, has to say about them in his mailbag (the URL isn’t a permalink, so don’t know how long it’s good for): I have reviewed both devices, and I find that the Windows Mobile software on the 700w is considerably inferior to the Palm operating system software on the 700p.Continue readingThe Failure of the Smartphone Interface

The Demise of the Handheld Interface

Am I the only person depressed by the idea that Treos are now going to be Windows Mobile-powered? (It remains to be seen whether there’ll be Palm versions too; it would make sense, at least for a while.) First off, feel sorry for all the third party developers who came up with great Palm software over the years. Mourn the small file sizes. Mourn the simple interface. For sure, Palm and the OS had their weaknesses. They never seemed to really improve on the software that was in the Palm IIIs except add some colour. They missed more opportunities than your average Premier League club.Continue readingThe Demise of the Handheld Interface

News: Microsoft Launches Voice Recognition for the Pocket PC

 Microsoft has launched new voice recognition and control software to allow mobile phone and handheld computer users to control most functions of their phones without fiddling with tiny controls. Microsoft Voice Command, Reuters reports, will be sold as a $40 add-on for the Windows Mobile Pocket PC software for PDAs and mobile phones, allowing users to call up a contact on a device by simply asking for a person’s name. It will also launch applications, control phone functions and look up and read back calendar appointments.

Update: A Sneak Look Through The New Windows

 Further to my earlier post about the delays behind the next version of Windows, Paul Thurrott of Windows & .NET Magazine has gotten hold of some screenshots of what is codenamed Longhorn that perhaps show they’re further down the road than we thought. His conclusions? this Windows version will finally fulfill Microsoft Chairman and CEO Bill Gates’s goal of making Windows the center of our digital lifestyle. Longhorn will offer a sound volume “mix” so that users can independently control any software that generates sound; in one of the screen shots, the volume for Microsoft Outlook’s new mail sound and the main speaker volume are independentlyContinue readingUpdate: A Sneak Look Through The New Windows

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