Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Tomorrow's World, Today
When we look at the big technology spend on R&D in the last financial year we see Samsung spent $10.5bn, Microsoft $9.8bn, Google's $6.8bn, Sony's $4.6bn and Apple's $3.4bn. A staggering total of some $35.1bn. So the obvious question is what is coming out of the spend and will it change our lives in the near future or is it still some way off making it to the market?
If we look at the current projected innovation we see two potential systemic changes, one that still appears unclear and one that is clearly some way off.
The Samsung Galaxy S IV is scheduled to be unveiled this month and there are very strong rumours that it will extend the ‘Smart Stay’ feature which detects whether the users is looking at the screen to a new feature that will allow the phone to track the movement of your eyes down the screen and effectively scroll or turn pages without any fingers! This is a significant step when it comes to reading and starts to change the way we read. Imagine no more turning pages and the previous page turner really does become automatic.
This along with the other Samsung technology could start to differentiate it from the pack and given their cross Galaxy approach would make their Note and tablet offers very appealing.
I watch, I record
The Apple Glass project has seen considerable coverage and as it gets closer to the expected launch later this year the noise about it is only going to increase. The glasses are designed, futuristic and comprise a number of parts. They are even reported to come in different colours and there may well be deals pending with major glass designers to make them even ‘cooler’ tp wear.
They aim to lift the users heads from constant distraction of starring at a display to one where the display is closer to the senses and is shared with other activity. The main body of Glass is a soft-touch plastic that houses the processor, battery, and counterweight and then there is a thin metal strip that creates the arc of the glasses, with a set of rather typical pad arms and nose pads which allow the device to rest on your face.
Although it can be controlled by a touch sensor at the side or via defined head movements the Glass responds to and is aimed to be driven by voice commands. It gets its data via either its own Wifi or via a tethered device such as a smartphone and has a GPS chip.
We immediately think of the information benefit of seeing maps, getting directions whilst on the move but probably the most interesting feature will be the ability to take still or moving images as you see them by a single voice command. This obviously raises the question of privacy but also the ability to effectively upload them in real time to services such as Google’s own YouTube or Facebook, Twitter etc.
Apple on the Wrist
We are less sure of the forthcoming watch with full iOS planned for later this year from Apple.
When we look at Pranav Mistry’s technology and ability to display on any surface we have to ask whether Apple are moving us forward in our interaction with technology or merely giving us designer blig?
We have to await more information but this would appear to be far behind both Samsung and Google in delivering us the future.
Microsoft’s Interactive Whiteboard
Whilst the other focus on the mobile world and making things smaller Microsoft continue to look at the larger canvas.
They are working on ‘SketchInsight’, which aims to redesign who we interact with data and access and present it. They are working on a more intuitive approach, which instead of forcing you to build a presentation in advance correlating the data and prettifying its presentation lets you call up pre loaded data to create interactive charts, maps and diagrams via a touch screen.
Whichever technology changes our interaction with and ability to exploit communications and technology is hard to call today but what is clear is that huge sums are being spent today in trying to invent the future and some will almost certainly succeed.