Daddy, Where’s Your Phone?

In this post, Tim O’Reilly talks about Vic Gundotra showing him the mobile device light:

Vic said that he realized in that moment that the era of the PC was over, and that the future belonged to cloud applications accessed via phones…I think about the web as experienced on a PC, and then about mobile as an add on. The tipping point has come; that notion has to flip: if we’re trying to get ahead of the curve, we need to think first about the phone, and then think about the PC browser experience as the add-on.

This paradigm shift has so many important implications it’s hard to know where to start. The first thing that comes to mind for me, working in the geospatial industry, is that the map browsing application as a primary user interface to geo-data and geo-analysis will continue to fade into history.

But conversely, use of geo-data and geo-analysis on servers should increase as applications try to do more to give users the right answer with fewer key strokes and fewer round trips to the server. For example, if you search for restaurants in a mobile app like Yelp, maybe it should take into account not only where you are at the given moment, but how far you travelled in the past to find a good meal. And maybe it should even take into account your current speed to know whether you’re driving or walking. And why not also consider the time of day to determine whether you want lunch or dinner? And whether rush hour traffic will be too bad to go very far?

This kind of mobile optimization combining UI factors, personal location and activity, and server-side smarts is another important implication for the paradigm shift to mobile devices.

About rajsingh

I'm on the staff of the Open Geospatial Consortium and still spend time hanging around the MIT Dept. of Urban Studies & Planning, where I did my graduate work. However, whatever you find here is solely my own opinion.
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