Just days before the Dream smart phone unveiling by Google and T-Mobile, Android creator Andy Rubin offers some musings on what kinds of application development and Web services we might expect in the mobile and wireless space over the next decade. Sensors will propel location-based services, crowdsourcing, social networking and more or less smarter computing experiences for people on the go, Rubin says.
Andy Rubin, father of Google's Android operating system, waxed ecstatic about the
future of mobile computing in a blog post Sept. 19.
Google watchers are probably tuckered out from the series of prognosticating
blog posts Google has pumped out since Marissa Mayer blogged exhaustively on
the future of search. However, I think it's important to pay attention to Rubin
with the Android Dream so close at hand.
Though Rubin doesn't mention the keywords Android or T-Mobile once, I choose to
read his communiqu??Â« as a gimlet-eyed indicator of what we can expect from
phones and other mobile devices based on Android, as well as phones from Nokia, Apple and Microsoft, in the next decade.
Noting that there are roughly 3.2 billion mobile gadget subscribers in the
world, Rubin said sensors in our phones power clocks, thermometers,
accelerometers and even compasses. Other sensors calculate user location and
gauge battery power.
Sensors will be ubiquitous, as Rubin wrote:
Your phone knows a lot about the world
around you. If you take that intelligence and combine it in the cloud with that
of every other phone, we have an incredible snapshot of what is going on in the
world right now. Weather updates can be based on not hundreds of sensors, but
hundreds of millions. Traffic reports can be based not on helicopters and road
sensors, but on the density, speed, and direction of the phones (and people)
stuck in the traffic jams.
Our phones will be smart about our situation and alert us when something
needs our attention. While we currently get news alerts or notifications when
tickets go on sale, mobile Web apps will monitor our personalized preferences
in the Internet cloud and tailor information updates to us.
For example, our phones will be super-GPS
systems, telling us not only where we are and how to get somewhere, but letting
us know when unforeseen travel issues arise, such as lousy weather or
construction impediments. Other alerts will tell us via our phones how much
items in store windows cost just by using sensors to pick up information from
In coming years, Rubin claimed, we will add smarter alerts based on our
locations and be able to collaborate and crowdsource with Web-based apps and
share that content.
Many social Web services currently exist, but it's the integration of
multiple disparate Web services, such as Twitter, OpenTable and Yelp.com, for
example, that Rubin is expecting.
"Ask the Web for the most interesting sites in your vicinity, and your
phone shows you reviews and pictures that people have uploaded of nearby
attractions," Rubin said. Users would then get directions from that
phone's brand of location-based app (such as Google, Nokia or Yahoo).
Finally, in what Rubin deems the "the future-proof device," our
phones will open up, making it easier for programmers to not only write new and
interesting apps for us but update existing apps automatically on our phones.
Now that would be nice and convenient, as long as it's safe and secure.
I appreciate Rubin's enthusiasm for the mobile Web and it would seem we
can't very well accuse him of being short-sighted. I have questions, as do some
many other mobile fiends, many of whom are less than pumped about the coming of
How many of the features, functions and concepts Rubin espouses will appear
on Android-based phones from T-Mobile, Sprint and other carriers? And when can
we expect these developments?
Does Google have a mobile application road map and a timetable for staying
ahead of Apple, Nokia, Microsoft and other mobile device providers?
I'll try to ask Google about these perks tomorrow at
the Dream launch.