Wednesday, October 24, 2007

S60 Touch Vs. Internet Tablets: Part 2

In part 1 of our S60 Touch Vs. Internet Tablets discussion we looked at some of the similarities and differences between Maemo, which is a recently established mobile platform that has had touchscreen functionality from day one, and S60, which is a well established mobile platform soon to be given the niceties of a touch-based UI system. This time around we get to dive into some of the many great features each side can offer each other as well as what the future holds for these two platforms.

Capture And Edit
One of the biggest features I've recently had the pleasure of working with is the Nokia N95-3 5 megapixel camera along with it's "near DVD quality" video recording. But it was the built-in video editor that threw me by surprise. One truly can put together a fairly professional production just using the one device. I think Internet Tablets need to provide more of these sort of outlets for user creativity. The web cam idea is a good one, but when an Internet Tablet user is given the tools to create content and share it with the world while on the move, the user becomes the producer.

Touch...It's Gonna Be Huge
The thing I miss most about the Internet Tablet when using the N95-3 by itself is a touchscreen. This may not be a real big deal to many people who have become accustom to a traditional phone interface, but once you've had a taste of a well put together touchscreen UI, you'll wonder why there aren't more devices with this interface and how come it's taken this long for Nokia to finally introduce the technology into S60 devices. Credit must be given to Apple, as they were at the very least, the one company that broke tradition and pushed the possibility of a very simple and usable interface for an all touchscreen phone. It may not be the best offering in the eyes of some people, but it most certainly stirred up the mobile market, and may have accelerated Nokia's entrance into touch enabled smartphones. If there's one thing the future S60 devices with touch UI can learn from both the iPhone and Internet Tablets, it's that it has to be very intuitive and simple to use without compromising the core features.

Small To Big Screen
The feature that surprised me most about the N95-3 is it's TV-out feature. The ability to make the small screen big in a moment's notice is very cool, and sparks the imagination with what neat things it could be used for. Things like gaming, web surfing, audio and video experiences, and more. It really adds a whole new dimension to an experience that's already multi-dimensional. It's like getting a Rolls Royce and finding out that it also can fly. But much like flight, the experience isn't perfect, and resolution is the biggest issue. The larger the screen, the more blurry the content becomes it seems. However, if the Internet Tablets of the future were to come with this feature at a high resolution output, it would be the perfect killer app in my book.

So those are just some of the things that both platforms can gain from each other, and as each platform continues to develop, I think we'll see even more great features and applications added to these amazing mobile devices. As for the future, it is not certain that both platforms will continue to grow alongside each other, but whatever comes of either platform will continue to write the history of the mobile industry. My personal vision for devices such as these are that GPS will be almost as important as the Internet, with location aware applications and services changing the way the world works forever. NFC (Near Field Communication) will also be very big in the not to distant future along with major improvements in battery technology. Another interesting area that has yet to make a splash is home and vehicle automation the same device. Yes, a lot of these developments seem far away, but at the rate mobile technology is developing, I wouldn't be surprised if a single mobile device in the near future will accomplish much much more.


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