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The Ubiquitous Smart Phone:

That cell phone which people have become so attached to is rapidly evolving into the life remote control dreamed about so many years ago. It’s not just a communication device. It’s a video-game system, a bus pass, a doctor, and holds the collected works of Voltaire.

School’s out, and the smart phones are about to rush home.

The Associated Press reported last week that the smart phone market is expanding so fast that it’s eliminating the personal digital assistant. Sony just dropped its entire PDA line, and there is little wonder why.

The folks at eWEEK reported back from the 3GSM World Conference in Cannes that, next year, there will be phones that scan documents and send them as high-quality faxes. Phones that use their camera as a mouse control. And, in Asia, there will be camera phones that top 6-megapixel resolution.

Imagine what doctors could do with that. There’s a report in JAMA this month that current camera phone technology already offers sharp enough images that a doctor sitting in the University Hospital of Geneva can diagnose leg wounds on a man in Botswana.

Ok, forget the doctors. Imagine what video-game companies could do with that. According to, companies like Digital Chocolate and Sorrent are vying for their share of the soon-to-be $1.5-billion mobile gaming industry by using smart phones’ voice and camera features to create new interactive games.

For the intellectual smart-phone users, AP reports that Random House has bought into VOCEL, a San Diego-based company that provides downloadable applications for cell phones. The publishing house probably won’t start offering full-fledged cell phone novels at least not in the United States. Its first project will be to provide foreign language tutorials that combine text with audio content – and a steady stream of video game how-to guides.

In Japan, though, the smart phone is getting into more practical applications. NTT DoCoMo announced it will begin testing smart cards that work as train passes.

But with all those other smart phone users around, be careful not to keep the sniffer on F-Secure reported that the mobile-phone worm Cabir is making the rounds.

The Robots Among Us:

What good is it to be human? Robots seem to be more disciplined, durable and efficient. This is why, as the New York Times reported, there will be gun-totin’ bots in Iraq as soon as April.

But let’s give humanity its props too. For example, we’re pretty good on two feet, even thought the AP is reporting robots that have finally managed to get pretty good at strolling along.

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Tagged: Communications

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