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"futurology" category

Wristwatch computing - will it work?

13th February 2013

There has been a large amount of speculation very recently that Apple is working on a new wristwatch computer.

Of course, wristwatch computing is not new.  As far back as 1980, I was able to play with a wristwatch calculator (with bright red LEDs) which could perform very basic calculator functions including addition, subtraction, division and multiplication.  The buttons were fairly fiddly but it did the job.

Science fiction for a long time heralded wristwatch communication - from Dick Tracey to the Power Rangers - and that too has been a reality for a little while - LG for example brought out a wristwatch phone a couple of years ago.

But the universal computing/communication device has of course become the smart phone, which provides a screen big enough to see things on, and big enough to tap out messages.  Does it end there, or is there a 'next step' - onto the wrist?

Proponents of the technology may argue that with an ultra-high definition display, a wristwatch-sized device can still display useful information.  And that we don't need keyboards any more, given the ability for phones to recognise the human voice and act on it.

So if size is perhaps not an issue, what's to stop this new gadget becoming Apple's next massive hit? If anything, I'd say it's the inconvenience of having to have it on your wrist.  

Think about it - a phone can be in any position.  It can be propped up or held close when you're reading; it can sit on a car dashboard; it can be held at arms length when you're sitting on the tube with no room to move your elbows.  Having to move your arm to a particular position to use a device would effectively kill it for me.

Have you had any experiences with wrist computing?  Let us know!

The end of print publishing?

14th March 2012
Categories: futurology, publishing

The BBC announces today that Encylopaedia Britannica is going online-only, ending a 244 year print publishing run.

With some readers citing tablets, e-readers and phones as better ways to read books than from their dead tree equivalent, is this the beginning of the end? And what am I going to put on my bookshelves in 20 years' time?

You may think it unlikely, but back in the 70s would you have predicted the demise of the typewriter? 

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