The Future

By Guy Kewney  |  Posted 2004-02-23 Print this article Print

"Suppose you have a camera phone on the market, and you discover that your rival has started eating your market with a video phone," suggests Duncan. "We can download the software module that turns the camera phone into a video phone." A very similar approach from Redbend, an Israeli software company, was selected by IXI Mobile. It has been included in the joint IXI/Texas Instruments announcement of the IXI-Connect OS. The key to the software is that it can give ordinary phones smart phone capabilities. For example, you could deal with over-the-air provisioning for a smart phone by building a modular software layer. But you could go further and give the industry the opportunity to turn every phone into a smart phone by producing an operating system that not only has functional software modules, but also expects them to be moveable. If the camera module isnt in the base unit, it may be in the camera unit. If the game module isnt local, it too can be in another pocket. The software doesnt care.
More important, each component can be upgraded separately, both hardware and software. Getting bored with your monochrome game module? Just buy a new color version. You can still keep the phone and the text unit. And if the camera needs to be turned into a video unit, just download the software.
Ill predict that this announcement gets rather little public traction in Europe and America, even though its going to cause quite a stir in Cannes this week. Its still too early for the world to understand what it will want in 2005. But this time next year, itll be the talk of the High Street. And if you doubt me, just wait until you see what Samsung Electronics announces this week. Check out eWEEK.coms Mobile & Wireless Center at for the latest news, views and analysis on wireless communication. Be sure to add our Mobile & Wireless feed to your RSS newsreader:


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