oneplatform header The Future of Media Technology: One Platform

Original Photo Courtesy of Jeremy from Flickr.com

We delve into the key elements shaping the vision of one computing platform

By Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer

Are you ready to imagine your mobile phone as your TV, computer and gaming device? At one time in the not-so-distant past, cellular phones weighted 10-pounds and took up considerable room in your briefcase. Could the early adopters cell phones have predicted Apple’s supercharged iPhone?

We have rapidly evolved from single-use cellular phones the size of a brick to a pocketsize device with GPS, calendar, application, web, game, phone, camera, texting, MP3 player, e-mail capabilities. As technology becomes more efficient and accessible, fitting more into less is inevitable.

Similarly, as we look to slim our budgets and maximize our space and time, one computing device will emerge as our primary connector to information, entertainment and our network of friends and family. As we seek to clear the tech junk out of our lives, we are reprioritizing what is economically important. That means, a couple of generations of gaming systems, a hand-held gaming device, cell phone, TV, DVR, HD player, desktop/laptop (or both) are a bit much. Consolidating the bits of information stored on our many devices would create a user-friendly, organized experience in which we would have more control over our information. The control of one device is what Sparxoo’s Home Turf King Trend is all about. If we could converge most of that electronic gadgetry into a single device, the price would be greatly reduced—as compared to the thousands of dollars we spend on our electronic entertainment arsenal.

We have identified three major technological elements—the DNA—of the one, multi-purpose, cutting edge computing device: multi-touch, projection and augmented reality technology. Though it might be 2015 or 2020 before we see such a device on store shelves (virtual and maybe physical), technology is constantly and consistently inventing itself. We have identified technologies today that show signs of leading us to this singularity.

Let’s briefly discuss each element:

Augmented Reality—Augmented reality narrows the gap between reality and virtual reality in a way no other technology can. How does it work? A camera recognizes objects, such as a shape printed on a piece of paper, and contextualizes that shape within the physical environment to build a virtual world around it. For example, GE has an augmented reality feature on its website. Simply print a PDF with a couple shapes on it from the GE site, hold it up to your webcam window (via the GE website) and a virtual wind farm unfolds in front of you. You can even blow on the paper and the wind turbines will spin.

Projection—Who doesn’t enjoy a movie at the theater? A bag of popcorn, a tall, cold soda and an anticipated flick is a true slice of Americana. What if, you could use your phone as a projector and your living-room wall as a theater screen? Companies like Microvision are making that vision a reality. As the strength of lasers increases and their size decrease, your living room could be a close second to the movie theater experience.

Multi-Touch— Mutli-touch technology has far surpassed the other two technologies in consumer applications. As projection and augmented reality technologies advance, multi-touch will be incorporated into their evolution. Multi-touch is what set Apple’s phone apart from its competitors and gave users an entirely new way to experience a cell phone. No longer was a phone limited to small, compact buttons. Apple essentially liberated the constraints and limitations of buttons to usher in a new age of human-computer interaction. As we take a glimpse into the future, multi-touch will become even more pervasive in how we consume our media.

Look for our indepth exploration of these three key elements next week.