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by Jiří {x2} Činčura

Can the phones be really smart?

18 Oct 2010 3 mins Android, Apple iPhone/iPad/iPod, Cloud, Windows Mobile/Windows Phone

I was recently thinking about phones and how these, now so called smart, device work together with our life. And I have to say my conclusions are not good. 😃

I have a feeling, that the smartphone are still with us as another device in pocket. Isolated, kind of, from what’s going on around. I would like to see integration, more tight integration. But not limiting.

Take, for instance, how the phone behaves according to different ring profiles in various places. I can imagine it being after some time able to recognize where I’m. No moves, 10p.m.-some alarm and still repeating wifi network name connected to? Well that’s possible my home (notice I’m not taking into account well offering GPS or least last position before you got into building) and I may probably always want to set up same ring profile when I get into these “conditions” anytime from 3p.m. (just example). And not ask me what ring profile to use. Observe profiles being set for a while and offer me one later. Chances are good you’ll be right. The phone isn’t doing some environment changing decisions on behalf of you. It is doing smart observations and offering you ways to make your life easier.

I can provide dozens of similar “guesses”. But to take it to next level the devices should do two more things. Learn what’s working and what isn’t. Are all input variables based on time in 90% wrong? Well you’re (example) maybe traveling a lot and hence having random patterns there. The device could, instead of mentioned time, take into account calendar, for instance.

That’s learning or intelligence. We may consider being part of algorithm as well. But with next point, it’s really next level. And it’s inter-device communication. One could say incorporating cloud, a word so often used today. But why not. Devices would recognize (and ask for confirmation, if needed) “friend” devices. Like wife’s and husband’s phone. But not only these obvious cases. Let me show you example. You’re at airport and the flight is delayed, you start hunting for wifi to do some work, but you’re low on battery (read further to know why the phone thinks you’ll not do it on energy left in battery). But another people found power outlet somewhere near your gate and are charging their phones. Wouldn’t it be nice if the phone would offer you this information because it knows you are going to need charging because according to the location you’re five hours from your final destination stored in appointment in calendar (that’s why are you low on battery)? And the devices would not share only “there’s power outlet”, but “I was low on battery and found power outlet near me, it might be worth offer your owner to recharge you if you’re in similar conditions, are you aware of it?". Know what I mean?

Sharing information is just part of the solution. Learning, passing ideas and decisions and algorithms, that’s next step in experience, in life integration, in life helping. Sadly we’re not there yet.

Profile Picture Jiří Činčura is .NET, C# and Firebird expert. He's focused on data and business layers, language constructs, parallelism, databases and performance. He's Microsoft Most Valuable Professional and frequent speaker. You can read his articles, guides and tips and tricks at