Nokia World: Fancy a 100GB mobile phone with a built-in projector?

Mobile phones

tero_5.jpgWhat will mobile phones be like in 2010? Ask Tero Ojanperä, Nokia’s chief technology officer, who did the final keynote speech at the Nokia World conference today. And he’s not short of ideas:

1. “A navigation device in 2010 will be similar to the N95, but it will deduce information from your calendar, then input the navigation and take you to the place you need to go.”

2. “If you’re a journalist, you’ll be documenting an event like this with your 10-megapixel camera, and you will be taking videos with your HDTV-quality video camera that’s embedded in your mobile device.”

3. “Say you’re starving for your Latte. Your devices finds the various coffee machines for you, sends the parameters of your Latte over the Internet, so that when you walk to that machine, your Latte has been brewed.”

But the most interesting idea he floated during his speech was of phones with 100GB of internal memory, containing every single item of media you own – music, films, photos, documents and so on.

“Your whole media will be indexed and there for you to take with you,” said Ojanperä, before getting back on a futurology tip. “If you come to Amsterdam, you might film some tulip fields in HDTV video, and then later go to a friend’s house and show those videos projected onto the wall, using the projector that’s been integrated within your device. All of this will be possible within three years.”

However, he went on to talk about how fast mobile networks are going to get in the years ahead too, and this is where I wonder about those 100GB phones. After all, if you’ve got a super-fast mobile network, and you’re not paying any extra data charges for what you stream or download, do you need to keep your entire music or movie collection on your phone?

Couldn’t you just stream it from your home server, using something like Orb – which remember, is already being put onto mobile phones by UK mobile operator 3 with its X-Series? Anyway, that’s just me getting carried away with future-gazing. And there was no need, because Ojanperä was still going strong.

“Imagine you want to go to the Van Gogh museum, so you locate it using your device, and then browse through the internet the opening times, and some reviews that people have posted. Once you get there, next to the paintings you can touch tacks with your Near Field Communication-enabled phone to initiate a service that connects back to the internet, and fetches information about the painting, and perhaps reviews by other visitors.”

There was also something about sensors embedded in your shoes detecting that it’s raining, so sending a message to your phone to direct you to the nearest bus stop, but I think he was getting carried away by this point. I liked another idea though, which Nokia is apparently already doing, of porting internet servers into mobile phone, so your phone can itself act as a server.

“It enables the mobile device not only to access the Internet, but to be accessed,” said Ojanperä. “You could store all your documents and pictures that you would like to share in that tiny server, and somebody else can access them if you allow it. This will fundamentally change the information architecture of the internet. And this is happening today. We have put the server into open source, and it is starting to spread.”

I love all this stuff – if he’d mentioned robots, lasers and a 4D holographic version of Snake, I’d probably still be sitting at the back of the conference auditorium with a silly grin on my face, dreaming of The Future. As it is, we’ll just have to wait for 2010 to see if all or any of these ambitious ideas come off.

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Stuart Dredge
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