Will 2011 mark the rise of ubiquitous computing devices?
The most interesting thing to come out of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (for me anyway) has got to be the Motorola Atrix. The Atrix is an Android powered phone that doubles as a desktop computer, a laptop and a home entertainment system thanks to a handy docking station. But the Atrix is much more than that.
This new “phone” is the first mobile device for ubiquitous computing (DUC). Imagine a world filled with many dummy portals such as a desktop PCs, laptops, tablets, home entertainment centers and large-scale multi-touch installations. At any point during your day, you can dock your DUC and, depending on the portal to which you are docked, you can work, read a book, surf the web, pay your bills, find your way around a city, study in a classroom, watch the latest movie, listen to music in your living room or…..anything.
Statistics regarding mobile usage consistently demonstrate the growth by which consumers depend on mobile devices to interact with friends, colleagues and brands. According to Morgan Stanley, Mobile Web Users will overtake Desktop Internet Users in the next five years.
Additionally, companies like Google, Apple and RIM have shown that mobile devices can offer a viable alternative to laptops and desktop machines for everyday users. So offering a variety of DUCs and dummy terminal offerings doesn’t sound too far fetched. Of course, professional content creators shouldn’t hold their breath for the DUCs to replace their weapons of choice, but how long do you think it will be (HD video editing on iPhones is available now) before they have options available?
Thanks to Motorola’s Atrix, the idea of only needing one “smart” device doesn’t seem unreal. I believe the Atrix has thrown down the gauntlet for other companies to follow suit. I have read Samsung and HP have their own DUCs in the works, and one can only imagine what Apple might bring to the mix (especially for those who were shocked they didn’t introduce it).
As a User Experience professional, I am thrilled about the opportunities to create robust user interactions rooted in touch-centric mobile interfaces that morph to meet additional needs for various systems to which it can be docked. In this new age, multi-touch, mouse and keyboard and remote control-based inputs will all live within one singular entity. As a consumer, I’m even more excited because I will have the opportunity to interact with a device the way that feels best suited for me.
And what will this mean for marketers, developers, artists, educators and consumers? I, for one, can’t wait to find out.