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April 30, 2005

Next Killer Cellphone App?

When clicking around I found this blurb [linuxdevices.com] about TV as the next killer app to cellphones. I can't think that this is even remotely true or a possibility in the near future. At least the researchers realize that there will be significant problems, specifically:

  • People won't watch video on the go
  • The screen is too small
  • No one wants to watch a half-hour program on a cell phone
  • The cell phone battery will run down too quickly
  • Implementing mobile TV is too expensive and doesn't offer a business case for operators.

Probably the most significant of these are the second and fourth. I mean come on, I don't even want to watch TV on a 5-inch LCD, some 7-inchers look OK, but a 2-inch cellphone screen? I don't care what the resolution is, it's just too small. Also, I can go 2-3 days before I recharge my phone, if I want to watch a 1/2 hour show on the metro every morning I would have to charge my phone every night. Call me lazy, but I don't want to recharge every night.

These problems could be addressed, but I don't see their solutions arriving anytime soon. The first problem (screen size) might be addressed by some personal-space technologies like a personal screen. I've seen some really dumb implementations of this, such as a device that you have to hold up to your face and peer into. It reminded me of the red binocular-like things that provided minutes of excite when clicking the pictures forward. Another device I tested was a pair of glasses that had a virtual VGA (640x480) screen. It was a little difficult to focus, but it had potential. The other problem, power, might be addressed by alternative power sources that could be easily replaced by a trip to the 7-11 or *gasp* more power efficient electronics components like OLEDs. What do you think?

Posted by Guy at April 30, 2005 10:26 PM