Nokia and others seek to make smart phones less stupid

George Orwell tosses and turns in his grave

For all the marvelous feats that modern “smart” phones can perform, I am constantly amazed by the constant stupidity of my own handset.  Why, for instance, is there no option to disable the ringer during a calendar event for a class or meeting?  Why does it tell me I have 300,000 updates to install and not give me a single button to “Install All”?  Why does it not have a telescoping handle and constant vibrate mode for impromptu back-rubs? Luckily it would appear that Nokia and other developers for iToys and RoboPhones are working on fixing at least some of these important issues..

First off, in fairness to the hardware side of our new phone overlords, it is perhaps more accurate to exclaim “Stupid [insert developer name here]” than “Stupid phone” whenever something goes awry.  Modern smart phones with their snappy CPUs and bigger GBs can handle most scenarios with ease, but it is much easier to curse and yell at the phone itself than properly insulting the responsible party.  For example: “Dammit Rovio, you Finnish developers of this damned game I’m addicted to, and will continue to play despite these hugely annoying video ads, and no option to give you my monies to get rid of them. Ballsarghhh!!!GAH!!!1!one!~,” does not roll off the tongue as well as “stupid phone”.  For this, phone, I apologize.  (Please remember this small act of contrition this when you and your kind take over the world).

Developers are not sitting idle however, as evidenced by this (somewhat scary) video, linked in the Semi-Related section, demoing some Nokia software designed to make your phone more aware of how you want it to behave.  This technology makes use of the GPS, and some manual rule setting on your phone to enable it to behave in specific ways based on the various “situations” you define.  For instance you can create a “class” situation that disables your ringer, and perhaps even sends an automatic SMS message to the offending caller warning of the impending swirly they will receive for daring to call you during your learning time.  You can also create rules based on GPS location to trigger similar situation profiles.

While not quite as important as the telescoping back-scratching feature, this software is a step in the right direction towards fixing my calendar woes at least.  Some, however, will view this as further violation of users privacy. Constant tracking by GPS to determine where you are and change your phone’s behavior as you meander may not sit well with certain people.  I, for one, am all for location aware features.  They are devilishly useful when on the road and you need to track down the nearest place to eat, gas up, or get rid of a few extra $1 bills.  Besides, as everyone knows, when you rob a bank you always give your phone (with location tracking on) to a possible alibi before-hand, but maybe I am missing something else.

P.S. (Side note/challenge… somebody with mad video editing skills needs to make a version of that Nokia video with more appropriate background music.  I’m certain with the right sound track that video would induce countless children, and a few S|A staffers to wet themselves and hide under the bed.)

P.P.S  Ummm, have a look at the Darthmouth crew aiming to take over your smart phone.  I think I’m beginning to understand why some are paranoid of machines knowing what you’re up to at all times.S|A

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