Many of my longer term readers will have noticed an evolution of sorts over the past year. After so long with an emphasis on the ins and outs of the more interesting (to me, at least) news in the mobile technology sector this page has taken on a more personal focus, with more posts about my life. There are a few reasons for that, and I’d like to address them here.
The first, and one that I’ve spoken about before to a degree, is that the business has changed its hardware focus a lot. Where before I might have pointed out an interesting new form factor, now everything is a black slab (or a white one if the manufacturers can take the year or so they need to figure out how to make it that colour) that is thin enough and tall enough to feel fragile when holding it in a landscape orientation, and with the ubiquitous touchscreen taking up a majority of the front of the device. An article I wrote last year bemoaned the lack of originality in the mobile world and illustrated that with a screenshot of an online shop that had more black monoliths on display than Arthur C Clarke’s wildest dreams, and I wont rehash that complaint here. What I will do is point out that this is one of the reasons I may seem to my readers to have lost interest in mobile technology. I haven’t really lost interest, of course, merely become bored by the lack of originality. I still get excited when something truly interesting is shown (the gorgeous Samsung Galaxy Note, with its introduction of a new size range and feature set run by its S-Pen stylus, for example) but articles expressing my excitement have obviously become fewer and farther between.
Another reason I haven’t spoken much about mobile technology over the past year is that it doesn’t seem as exciting on the software front anymore. Even a couple of years ago, the idea of someone keeping a professional blog completely from their phone was amazing to most people. Sure, there’d be those who would occasionally update their pages from their phones, but for someone to keep a page as professional-looking as this one was from a phone astounded people. These days a load of services have leapt up and the capabilities of mobiles have increased to the point that anyone can do what I do, with barely any effort. I, of course, don’t resent this and actually welcome the fact that technology has come this far. Seriously, welcome fellow Phonies, Mowebbies… Small-Screeners? No, the reason I mention this is that all those excited posts about new technology or methods of doing things were mostly aimed at getting more people up to my own level of operation, usually after proving such a thing was possible. It seems strange that only a few years ago I was doing the unthinkable and more so that it is now so commonplace as to be unremarkable, but it’s true. As such things have become commonplace there has been much less need for me to prove they’re possible as others have unknowingly taken up not just the torch, but the entire future I was heralding. And, of course, there has been much less need for me to show my methods and pull others forwards with me.
Then there’s my affiliation with Overjoid. While I haven’t been as active there as I’d like to be, a majority of my mobile posts (those focussed on Android at least) find there way there first, before being cross-posted here. I have a good half-dozen unfinished essays for that place in my files and at some point I will get around to finishing them. The fact is, as an Android user, I’m more focussed on Android now and it makes sense that most things I’d post be about Android. With a powerhouse like the Samsung Galaxy SII in my hands (the only smartphone model to win Phone Of The Year at the same show over two consecutive years) there isn’t much that I need to add to increase the phone’s functionality. In fact, over half of the 90 or so applications I have installed are there simply to individualise the user interface and make the phone more my own. With so little needed to make the phone able to handle my needs, there’s again not as many reasons to be excited by new things when they don’t really improve my output.
Now I don’t want to give people the wrong idea here – I’m still as interested in mobile technology as I ever was and still excited, I just feel less of a responsibility to show that excitement. And there are other things too, other interests I talk about – the past twelve months have been pretty massive in the videogame world for starters. Further I’ve been attempting to engage my readers on a more personal level, giving more insight into my personal life and letting you all get to know me better. Add all that to a renewed effort to write a novel that is keeping me offline more often these days and I’m sure you can see why I haven’t been talking about mobile technology quite so often when I am here.
And then Google went and created a pair of glasses that does all that. I don’t care if you’re on limited data or not, I don’t care if you’re interested in mobile technology or not – you need to watch that video. All that is from a pair of glasses with an integrated camera and display and run through voice recognition as well as location-based services contained in a base unit kept in the back pocket.
This is Project Glass and for the first time in a long time, I’m excited again for the first time in a long time.