The existing and emerging smart-phone applications shown here draw upon mobile devices’ inherent power, sensing and location-finding capacities, access to Internet-based “cloud” services, and burgeoning popularity.
Location technologies can serve a variety of purposes. GPS chips and location identifiers based on Wi-Fi signal strength allow people to find and map friends or colleagues. Cameras and network connections allow not only real-time photo updates but also search applications that call upon cloud resources to identify what’s in the photo—and even to translate text.
Near-field communication chips can make it possible to pay for a transaction by passing the phone over a reading device—a technology that’s already widely used in Korea and Japan. As such chips become common in more devices, it will increasingly be possible to share photos and other data by “bumping” gadgets together.
Of course, smart phones can also do things like load vehicle entertainment and navigation systems and control PCs, televisions, and printers in homes and offices. And with more than 450 million smart phones expected to reach consumers in 2011, these devices’ applications could evolve in ways we haven’t yet imagined.