In the heyday of Palm organizers, when even the speeds of 3G data seemed like a distant fantasy, a debate raged as to whether the future of pocket devices could belong to one or two devices. Those who favored two devices argued that you didn’t really want all the bulk and battery consumption of a pocket computer in a small device that you wanted to use primarily to make calls. They failed to anticipate that technology’s relentless integration would enable these “pocket computers” to become the minimal-millimeter smartphones of today and that data networks would support access to apps ranging from social networking to mobile video that would trump voice for many users.
But at Samsung’s Unpacked 5 event at Mobile World Congress last month, the star of the now less ostentatious show was not the latest generation of the flagship phone running the world’s most popular mobile operating system. Rather, it was a small wrist device running a virtually unknown platform. And these products have no internet connectivity on their own. In fact, one of the benefits of the new line of Gear devices from Samsung is the broader variety of the company’s smartphones that support them. If you believe in the promise of the smartwatch or Google Glass, you’ve at least partially vindicated the two-device proponents from two decades ago.
The future personal mobile landscape, though, will likely incorporate not just one or two personal devices, but multiple ones that are not only on our person but also in proximity.
The future personal mobile landscape, though, will likely incorporate not just one or two personal devices, but multiple ones that are not only on our person but also in proximity. In 2010, Switched On discussed why the digital hub, as the vision once espoused by Steve Jobs for the future of the PC, gave way to the cloud as the centers of our digital universe. That mostly remains true as far as media is concerned as smartphones still lack the large amounts of vast storage reservoirs that can be embedded in a PC (or at least were prior to the SSD trend).
But a new generation of wearables and personal devices that provide feedback on our exercise, posture, food intake and simply offer silly sounds. Some, like Moov, already include adaptive scenarios for the use of multiple instances of the product worn in different locations on the body. The digital spokes of the PC focused on acquiring and sharing media while the new generation focuses on sending sensor and environmental data. While vastly different in function, size and design from the MP3 players and digital cameras that were once served as tethered outposts for acquiring and using PC-based media on the go, they still lack the native network connectivity of their forebears. That the smartphone has become a digital hub for a new generation of peripherals represents the passing of another torch from the PC.
For all the popularity of fingerprint scanners, Fujitsu believes that it can go one better. The Japanese company has been working on palm-based systems for the last few years, and we’ve already seen turnstiles, wallets and tablets that are accessed from your hand. Fujitsu believes that palm vein sensing is around a thousand times more secure than conventional biometric methods and it’s implementing the technology in its next range of business-focused laptops due out this week. We’ve been shown around some of these models, which have the new sensor fitted into an area that is roughly the same size and position as the company’s existing fingerprint scanners, just below the bottom right corner of the keyboard. Using it is simple: Hold your hand a few inches above the sensor and the hardware will quickly scan the unique arrangement of your veins. If it judges you to be the real deal, it’ll open up its secrets for your enjoyment.
Of course, your biggest objection to that would be that, if some nefarious type wanted to get at your Amazon account, all they’d have to do is grab a sword and lop off your hand, right? Turns out, biology has provided us all with a built-in failsafe. Fujitsu’s technology only works while blood is flowing through your veins, so your lifeless limb can’t be used to breach the wall. Having seen this technology in action, we’re reasonably sure that it’s ready for prime-time, and we’re excited to see if this as fool-proof as Fujitsu claims. Even if it is, however, the easiest and least messy way to access someone else’s login will always be to ask them — an approach that worked just fine for Edward Snowden.
Sharif Sakr held his hands in the air (like he just didn’t care) for this report.
Filed under: Laptops
Source: Evleaks (Twitter)
Palm gets official with webOS 2.0 and Pre 2: hitting France on Friday, Verizon 'in the coming months'
And just like that, the rumor mill smirks. HP has just come clean with a device that we’ve been hearing more and more about over the past few weeks, and with it will come the next generation of webOS that we’ve been hearing about for even longer. The Palm Pre 2 will be the first device to ship with HP webOS 2.0, with the revamped and renamed (presumably to use on more than just Palm smartphones) mobile OS promising “true multitasking,” Stacks (for organizing apps) Just Type, HP Synergy (links your email and social networking accounts), Exhibition (enabling users to run apps designed specifically for the Palm Touchstone Charging Dock) and support for Adobe’s Flash Player 10.1 Beta. It’s also bringing along a new Favorites tagging option, Skype Mobile (on the Verizon version only), text assist, integrated Quickoffice, VPN support, a redesigned launcher and full support for Bluetooth keyboards and SPP peripherals. Read more
Considering how tight of a lid Palm and HP have been keeping on details about the next Palm device, we were surprised to see it pop up on the website of French carrier SFR (who recently disappeared the Pre Plus). It’s official: the Palm Pre 2 is coming.
Yeah, you’re interested. Here’s what details SFR dropped:
- 1GHz processor
- 512MB RAM
- Same design as the current Pre series, but with a “flatter screen” (we’re supposing glass) and “more refined design.”
- Update: as arthurthornton notes in the comments – if you look closely that finicky USB door has been removed and replaced with a simple, exposed MicroUSB port. Looking more closely the finish on the edge is matted – so it looks like that crack-prone plastic we’ve been dealing with is a thing of the past.
- Update 2: PreCentral member thomas92 notes via email that SFR also says that webOS 2.0 will bring a faster boot time. We really need to work on our French, it seems.
Additionally, our rusty French translation yielded this until-now unannounced webOS 2.0 feature: push. Specifically, SFR is talking about Facebook push integration (touting it as “the great innovation of 2.0”) with messages, events, wall postings, and chat. We’re not going to read too much into that, as we would hope that Palm would integrate push into more than Facebook. So either SFR is overreaching, or they’re not telling us everything about push and instead are focusing on what customers want to hear about, i.e. Facebook.
The name of certification firm TÜV Rheinland may not ring a bell, so allow us to jog your memory: these are the guys that outed the GSM versions of the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus prior to their announcement earlier this year. Hence, the interwebs are paying pretty close attention this evening now that we’ve found US and Canadian certifications for Palm models P102UNA and P102EWW, which — following Palm’s typical model numbering convention — would correspond to North American GSM and CDMA versions of some new device, respectively. To put things in perspective, the P101UNA was unearthed in the certification database on January 23rd and announced for AT&T on March 22nd, so we could reasonably still have a couple months’ wait on these… or a couple days. No way of knowing yet how Palm plans to play this. There’s also a listing for a new “inductive battery charger,” which would certainly imply a new Touchstone — which may or may not still bear the Touchstone name.
On a related note, we’ve received a slew of new webOS 2.0 screen shots — and while some of them look familiar, our eyes were drawn to the sexy new “classic” and flip-style digital clocks. Important? Not necessarily, but sometimes it’s the little touches that count. Hit up the gallery for the full show (and don’t forget our first batch from a few weeks back, while you’re at it).