I wrote a post almost 15 years ago, where I listed a number of features that I wanted on my phone and that, at the time, sounded quite far fetched. I called it “The mobility I want”. I remembered this post and I decided to take a look at what I wrote, and compare it to where we stand now. Here are the features I wanted :
|What I envisioned:||What we have today:|
|The ability for a device to silence themselves when there is a scheduled event.||👍🏼||Devices can now be configured to go into “Do not disturb” when there is an ongoing meeting.|
|The ability to recognize privileged senders/callers and bypass a silenced mode.||👍🏼||“Do not disturb” currently disables itself when a registered sender calls twice.|
|Recognizing important events and alerting if we are overextended and there is risk in not making our commitments.||👎🏼||Haven’t seen anything that does this effectively. Calendaring software has not evolved at the same speed as the rest of the ecosystem.|
|Telemarketers diverted to a screening service.||🏼||It is possible to do this, and to delegate our inboxes as well, but it is unpractical to have someone screen them. |
Anti-spam systems have improved considerably, reducing false positives.
|Voice mail delivery to mail/cross channel messaging.||👍🏼||It is now possible to send voice to text, text to voice. We probably have too many options.|
|Context-sensitive alerts for on-site meetings, travel plans.||👍🏼||Most calendar systems now do this. They can tell if there is a traffic jam and let us know beforehand.|
|Automatic “Out of Office” during the day||👍🏼||We sort of have this. “Do not disturb” can be scheduled, and there are also settings for automatically shifting modes when driving.|
|Automatic “Out of Office” when on holidays.||👎🏼||We don’t really get this. There is no good way of automatically setting an OOO by just flagging an event as “personal”, and there is definitely nothing to get a good summary of what happened while we were out.|
Five out of eight. That’s a pretty good score, and it also speaks to the fact that probably I wasn’t the only one who wanted these things, otherwise, they wouldn’t have been developed. This leaves us with only three things that our current pocket computers could be better at.
But what other things have been added to these glass and aluminum wonders that I missed on my wish list? The answer is, A LOT OF THEM. Here is an incomplete list of things that I did not even foresee:
- The rise of video. Facetime, Zoom. More than a decade ago, I never thought that our bandwidth would allow us to do this.
- Voice recognition accuracy. It works just great, especially with phonetic languages like Spanish or Hungarian.
- Multi-language performance. Devices actually switch and do spellcheck contextually.
- Touchscreens that really work. Today’s touchscreens are great at almost everything. Hard keys would still be better until we figure out how to have a per-key haptic feedback on screen.
- Automatic OCR and other image recognition. This is a game-changer. Machines now understand images.
- Uber. Totally missed the implications of added GPS functionality.
I am not feeling adventurous enough today to come up with the next batch. How about you? Are you missing something badly?