Tuesday, July 31, 2012

3 Advances that Could Revitalize the Mobile Device (iPhone 6?)

Assuming the series of purported iPhone 5 leaks are accurate, the new device will be similar to the 4 previous versions, doing little new to differentiate the physical device. This got me thinking – what could they, Apple or any device manufacturer, offer that would be differentiating?

What makes a breakthrough product is generating something truly new, truly differentiating and something people genuinely want. It’s hard work. Apple did it and the rewards have been great. But what's next? The iPhone design is getting long in the tooth - no?

To get a consumer to stop using something they are comfortable with and replace it with another product requires that the new product be 10-times better…not slightly better...10-times better. Switching costs for consumers is quite often that high. So if you’re RIM you have the task of creating a device 10-times better than the iPhone to get customers back. A tall task. Breakthrough innovation is an opportunity today and be it from RIM, Apple, Samsung, or anyone else it could well drive the next wave of device adoption.

Differentiating in the mobile world is getting more difficult by the day and a major breakthrough hasn’t occurred since the touch screen (my view!). Below are a few ideas that together would create one hell of a device – one that I’d switch to regardless of who made it…

1) Projection Screen. All devices are restricted by screen size. A large mobile screen is more useful but more unwieldy to carry. A small screen is easier to carry and more convenient but offers less user experience potential. Why not embed projection into the device? Make everything and anything a screen. To make it a more valuable experience the projected screen could be enabled for gestures – a touch projection.

2) Projection Keyboard. Most of us prefer a full size keyboard – or as close to it as we can get. A mobile device can't offer it, although most users have accepted the touch screen keyboard alternative to physical keys. Enter the laser projection keyboard. When you have the room place the device in front of you and it projects a full size laser keyboard.

3) Embedded Gyro Stabilizer. Gyroscopic stabilization, meet the mobile device. If Dean Kamen can invent gyros that can move people around, why not one that can hold your mobile device at your desired angle? Place your device on the table at a 60-degree angle that is comfortable for you to view and watch a movie or get to work.

Imagine the potential to build applications if you had a full screen, full keyboard, and a gyro stabilizer (and perhaps a  3D accelerometer)? This is not the talk of Star Wars - all these technologies already exist. Of course this wouldn't be easy to do and most of the current technology is too large to embed. That’s the challenge. That’s the break though opportunity...

A rough sketch of how it would look. Anyone care to build a proper image of this device?


1 comment:

  1. I totally agree - Although Apple had a breakthrough with the very first iPhone - providing the best touch screen responsiveness and the intuitive interface possible many years ago, they now need a brand new hardware-focused innovation rather than only software if they want to make a difference. Frankly, that is what I expect from iPhone 6 in the upcoming years - because its rivals are definitely catching up!


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