The World Mobile Congress is the world’s largest annual exhibition and congress for telecommunications and mobile phones. This year’s edition was organized in Barcelona and took place on February 11-14. One of the most debated topics was the convergence of the Internet with mobile phones combined with GPS functionality.
If you are up-to-date with the expos and conferences that took place this year, then you might frown a little because the same pattern has popped up everywhere. CES 2008 centered around Web 3.0 and at CeBIT 2008, Steve Ballmer (CEO Microsoft) predicted a new computing revolution that would change our lives in every area.
Here at WMC, Nokia claims that they want to redefine the Internet itself. Check out the following quotations from Nokia’s key employees.
“Struggling with oversized paper-maps will be a thing of the past.”
“As the Internet is freed from the limitations of the desktop, we are taking mobility into a completely new realm of possibility. We are redefining the Internet itself as it increasingly becomes a medium of immediate and personal experiences.”
“Navigation is one of the foundations of the context-aware mobile phone. We believe it will be as important as voice capability was 20 years ago.”
~ Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, President and CEO of Nokia
“By adding context--such as time, place and people--to the Internet, the Web will become something very different from the one you have today.”
~ Niklas Savander, Executive Vice President of Services and Software at Nokia
The aforementioned idea is really provocative, mostly because Nokia shares the same vision with Google. Thus, both are planning to architect their projects on cross-platform and operator-independent software solutions. Needless to say, according to Savander, “Google's Android is still a Power Point presentation.” From this point on I guess it is a no-brainer that the competition has begun between Nokia and Google.
At WMC, Nokia presented their project called Maps 2.0. Apparently, this is a fine combination of multimedia, Internet, and enhanced GPS assistance. All of these together build something that Nokia calls “context-aware Internet.”
A quick example is the following: you are on a trip to Paris, France visiting the Cathédrale Notre Dame. You take out your trusty Nokia phone sporting the latest Maps 2.0 and take a picture of yourself in front of the cathedral. By doing this, your location is automatically incorporated into the metadata of the image file, which means that it becomes stored along with its size, date, format, resolution, colors, etc.
This is an amazing feature because technically, it means that every picture that you take is going to be accompanied with the exact location, without any involvement on your part. Due to this, it becomes a key-point later on with social networking or whenever being in touch with friends and relatives is desired.
Moreover, the Nokia phones exposed at WMC were also gifted with enhanced GPS receiving capabilities and, obviously, Internet access whenever possible. An additional multimedia feature is the ability to host and share clips on Nokia’s OVI website. The high-end N96, which is the successor of the N95, is a prime example of a cell phone that sports the aforementioned features. It was shown off this year at the World Mobile Congress.
Dan Harple, founder of GyPSii, also believes that people want to know what their friends are doing and where they are in real time. Think of it as location-based social networking, or as it is officially called, “geo-tagging based social networking.” This is something that is currently hot in the market and generates lots of interest.
Summing all of this up, we can clearly see a trend that concentrates around GPS and Internet. Several companies are trying various approaches, attempting to create the most revolutionary products that will instantly turn into huge successes.
Wish them luck, stand by, and don’t forget to stay up-to-date with the latest news. Fortunately for us, they all have a shared goal—integrating GPS into cell phones. Thus, pocket monitoring for pedestrians will become a standard in a few years, a norm just as powerful and dominant as cameras, which cannot be overlooked any longer.
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