Monday, September 21, 2009

Microvision: Will Change the Visual Experience of Future Mobile Devices

Today, the mobile devices are ubiquitous and if you were to project out the current trends another ten years…

“You will be carrying with you, on a 24x7 basis, a very powerful, always connected, functions & sensor-rich device with enhanced visual experience… called the Smartphones. And the cool thing is, so will everyone else. So what are you going to do with it that you aren't doing now?

Before we consider the possibilities, let’s first address the ubiquity of the mobile devices and extrapolate the current trends towards the mobile phones of the future for everyone on this planet. In other words, the mobile phones of to-day will pave the path to ubiquity for Smartphones of tomorrow… and that tomorrow may be here as early as the next 10 years. Consider this…

• There are currently about 3.2 billion mobile subscribers in the world, and that number is expected to grow by at least a billion in the next few years.

• Today, mobile phones are more prevalent than cars (about 800 million registered vehicles in the world) and credit cards (only 1.4 billion of those).

• While it took 100 years for landline phones to spread to more than 80% of the countries in the world, their wireless descendants did it in only 16 years.

• Fewer teens are wearing watches now because they use their phones to tell time instead. So it's safe to say that the mobile phone may be the most productive and ubiquitous consumer product ever invented.

However, have you ever considered just exactly how powerful these ubiquitous devices are and if the current trends were to be extrapolated… what future mobile device will look like? Whatever the name [or logo] on the cover, under the hood these mobile phones of the future will be the Smartphones that will be very smart [pun intended] and very powerful. Smartphones like “Blackberry” considered a business tool are now successfully targeting consumers. On the other hand, “iPhone” considered a consumer product is now targeting business customers. Some day, they may converge and pretty much offer the same power, functionality, connectivity, long battery life and ease of use etc.

As more and more consumers switch to Smartphones globally, the Blackberry and iPhone are picking up market share at the expense of foreign competitors such as Nokia.

However, the good news is that the overall Smartphones market is growing faster than ever. In 2008, a total of 1.2 billion mobile phones were sold worldwide, according to IDC, of which some 160 million were Smartphones, or 13%. In 2013, IDC predicts that 20% of the 1.4 billion mobile phones sold will be Smartphones, or 280 million.

Currently, we know what Smartphones like Blackberry and iPhone offer. What we don’t know and, therefore, can only speculate what additional functionality and features the future Smartphones may offer. Here’s a list of what the future may hold in store for the consumers…

Smart alerts:  Your mobile phone will be smart about your situation and alert you when something needs your attention. This is already happening today… eBay can text you when you've been outbid, and alert services (such as Google News) can deliver news, sports, or stock updates to you. In the future, these applications will get smarter, patiently monitoring your personalized preferences (which will be stored in the network cloud) and delivering only the information you desire. One very useful scenario: your phone knows that you are heading downtown for dinner, and alerts you of transit conditions or the best places to park.

Augmented reality:  Your mobile phone uses its arsenal of sensors to understand your situation and provide you information that might be useful. A stylish looking app, for one example, may automatically track Zagat rated restaurants, giving users food and cost scores as they move in real time bringing new dining places into view as they appear on the map.

Or perhaps, do you really want to know how much is that red dress in the window? Your phone, with its GPS and compass, knows what you are looking at, so it can tell you before you even ask. Plus, it may even suggest what purse and accessories go with the red dress?

Crowd sourcing:  Your mobile phone is your omnipresent window to the world, a way to publish pictures, emails, texts, Twitters, streaming videos and blog entries. When everyone else is doing the same, you have a world where people from every corner of the planet are covering their experiences in real-time. That massive amount of content gets archived, sorted, and re-deployed to other people in new and interesting ways. Ask the web for the most interesting sites in your vicinity, and your phone shows you reviews and pictures that people have uploaded of nearby attractions. Like what you see? It will send you directions on how to get there.

Sensors everywhere:  Your mobile phone knows a lot about the world around you. If you take that intelligence and combine it in the cloud with that of every other phone, we have an incredible snapshot of what is going on in the world right now.

Tool for development:  Your mobile phone may be more than just a convenience; it may be your livelihood. Already, this is true for people in many parts of the world: in southern India, fishermen use text messaging to find the best markets for their daily catch, in South Africa, sugar farmers can receive text messages advising them on how much to irrigate their crops, and throughout sub-Saharan Africa entrepreneurs with mobile phones become phone operators, bringing communications to their villages. These innovations will only increase in the future, as mobile phones become the linchpin for greater economic development.

The future-proof device:  Your mobile phone will open up, as the Internet already has, so it will be easy for developers to create or improve applications and content. The ones that you care about get automatically installed on your phone. Let's say you have a piece of software on your phone to improve power management (and therefore battery life). Let's say a developer makes an improvement to the software. The update gets automatically installed on your phone, without you lifting a finger. Your phone actually gets better over time.

Safer software through trust and verification:  Your mobile phone will provide tools and information to empower you to decide what to download, what to see, and what to share. Trust is the most important currency in the always connected world, and your phone will help you stay in control of your information. You may choose to share nothing at all (default mode), or just share certain things with certain people─ your circle of trusted friends and family. You'll make these decisions based on information you get from the service and software providers and the collective ratings of the community as well. Your phone is like your trusted valet: it knows a lot about you, and won't disclose an iota of it without your permission.

Enhanced Visual Experience:  Not too long ago, a mobile phone offered only a one-to-one viewing experience with little room for personalization and lacking the cool factor. Soon Microvision’s PicoP display engine technology will change the DNA of the phone, making it more visual, interactive and unique to the user. Taking this a step further, your cell phone will become a “one-to-many” tool, allowing us to share mobile content with groups of friends, family and colleagues. In the not-too-distant future, road warriors will be showing presentations to a room full of colleagues via a projector accessory [SHOWwx} for their mobile phones. We have only begun to unleash the mobile visual experience.

Microvision Will Change Your Visual Experience, Wirelessly:

With the increasing number and variety of visual applications on mobile phones, Microvision’s PicoP display engine technology will deliver the mobile experience consumers have come to expect. Consumers will be able to use their mobile phones to capture and store high-quality content, including digital movies and console-quality video games, and then watch the content with others via a connection to mobile, palm-sized, full-featured SHOWwx PicoP projector, which are expected to be available in the summer of 2009.

Professional and amateur film makers can already use their mobile phones to show-off high-quality samples of their creations to producers using video clips taken on their handset. Soon, they [and you] will be able to share your video creation or the latest funny video from YouTube with a room full of people, in DVD quality (848 x 480) resolution, the same clarity you receive from your DVD player at home. Parents will be able to send DVD quality videos of their children learning how to ride a bike to family members, who may then show a room full of their friends.

In conjunction with third party technology for processing HD video and graphics content, Microvision’s PicoP projector will allow [in 2010] integration into a mobile phone, further enhancing display options in mobile devices. Microvision’s Pico projector is creating a new standard by extending beyond the limitations of the physical screen on mobile phones and allowing consumers to share content with friends and family.

From viewing video content on a 2-inch LCD screen on your mobile phone to being able to watch DVD-quality video in widescreen TV format projected to the closest wall, the wireless experience will never be the same.

Quality of image, rich & vivid colors and always-in-focus feature is important when projecting from your Mobile devices. For comparison, look at the quality and size of the Microvision’s PicoP projection and compare it to the [static] images from the Optoma DLP Pico projector and the 3M LcoS Pico projector…

First, the link to the Optoma DLP Pico projector video…

Next, the link to 3M LcoS Pico projector video…

Now look at Microvision laser PicoP projector SHOWwx video…

Note: Make sure to click on the video play button

Now tell me, if I need to write a thousand words to explain the difference between the three?

Microvision Will Change Your Visual Experience, Wirelessly!

Anant Goel

[Credit: Andy Rubin, Engineering Director at Google]