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September 18, 2009

Touching on a few items to spark some thinking

touch_faithBOSTON, USA – The Mobile 2.0 conference is coming again and Rudy and gang are itching to showcase some amazing startups. What’s great about this conference is that it’s filled with very energetic entrepreneurs who passionately believe in designing and building stuff for mobile devices.

Of course, the operators are going to be there. And, if we were there, too, we would, like usual, beg that we not gripe about operators and focus on what we CAN do.

Today, we’d like to point to a few interesting things that could easily be part of discussions at Mobile 2.0 – operator customization, apps in under served segments, and just plain cool geekery.

Yeah, read on. You want to see the cool video at the end.

Accustomed to customization
Recently, we commented on how one can really never know what folks might do with a device. A designer has his customer in mind and then someone builds something on top of it that was not part of the plan.

While some days it does feel like operators do that, they are part of the package too, for Nokia, so customization is part and parcel of building and selling mobile devices. There was a bruhaha over customization options for the Nokia N900, to which Nokia set the record straight.

Nonetheless, Bill Ray, from the Register, captures the general feeling that (non-manufacturers and non-operators) have with respect to device customization. Our question is, does it have to be so contentious between user interface, software selection, price, and distribution?


Touching back
For us, one cool thing about the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic touch screen is that it touches back through vibrations, enough to make things feel real on the screen. Taking this farther, a joint project with Nokia, Tampere University, and the Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired, has created a simple app that turns text messages into Braille. On the phone.

By using the vibra in a Braille like pattern, each letter can be felt back on the screen. The video below explains it better.

We’ve highlighted other similar solutions from Nokia, such as the Nokia BT Loopset (Mikko Haho explains it in a video). Bringing solutions to all potential users includes those who one would not expect to use a mobile device due to hearing or visual impairment.

Cool, huh?

Almost touching….
Two really clever and creative guys, Jack Shulze and Timo Arnall, created a Rube Goldberg-like contraption that inspires one in how RFID can be used beyond the boring and mundane Oyster card use. Check it out below.

Nearness from timo on Vimeo. [via AllAboutSymbian]

Does that get you thinking?

Image from A6U571N