Moving to a new device has also had the benefit of having me think again about disruptive technologies and how that factors into use, thought, and future-things. I’ll admit that I have been intrigued by the ideas behind Nenya lately (wearable computing sits as something I’d like to explore more), but its probably Nokia’s statements towards MeeGo being used for disruptive technologies that’s anchored some of my more recent thoughts.

For example, in a thread that I recently came across at Talk.Maemo, some of the thinking behind disruptive technologies was grounded in Nokia BetaLab’s Situations and Bots applications. Context adapting is  a clear point of differenetiation that can be missed by developers and owners (users) alike. However, if we aren’t looking at how people are using their devices (and the services with them), any enhancements to this end come across as layered and not so disruptive. Here was my comment from that post:

When you think “disruptive” you’ve got to get away from the spec sheets and get towards the use cases. Look again a Situations and Bots, these are essentially asking for the same thing (context awareness by the mobile device, software adapts to behavior of the owner) but going about it two different ways.

Situations takes the understood model of computing that’s pretty much framed much of how we (owners, users, and non-service providers) do mobile: program it, and then its “intelligence” is allowed to come to the surface.

Bots takes the method of computing (somewhat understood) that says “given enough data points, can we automate certain tasks which used to be the domain of the owner to provision?” The intelligence of this system comes to the surface after a period of learning, and with little “additional programming” by the owner – or even the need of a “service layer” to bolster the intelligence as all of the data is collected and compiled on the mobile locally.

So, looking at use cases based on what we see with Situations and Bots, what can those disruptive technologies look like on a platform like Maemo/MeeGo:

  • different user interface behaviors for going into certain types of apps (treating pictures and videos as windows that you slide open and close instead of poking into and out of)
  • more context shifting from the mobile (using the sensors to adapt not just the screen, but the processor, battery draw, and even sound qualities based on those items)
  • if the mobile has the hardware to be a sharing point (UnPnP, HDMI, TV-Out, USB-Host), can the use of that hardware we pushed more to the front of the use without costly accessories (instead of docks, the device simply plugs-in as is and through sensor frameworks adapts to device/environment)
  • what areas of the UX should remain owner-programmable (themes, sounds, etc.), which areas should the device not all to be programmed for automation, but learns what the preferences are for owners and maybe recommends a better or more efficient course

And things of that ilk. Remember also some of the directions for the platform, its not just about a terminal that you place in your pocket, hands, or near your ear. We’ve been hearing about the integration to automobiles (and other forms of transportation), connecting to utility grids, and even combining with similar devices to create larger shared experience screens/environments.

Disruptive means that you take what people think is normal, and you add something of definitive value such that they assume that normal is no longer good enough. That should be the direction for developers here, and certainly the focus of anything with MeeGo that Nokia or others release in terms of hardware.

I know. Lots to say there. But, when looking at something disruptive, you’ve got to take some inventory of what isn’t being done. Faster, thinner, and more colorful ain’t it.

Many of the ways that we are thinking about the next thing in mobile aren’t really all that forward-pushing when it gets down to it. At least not by default. There remains some level of knowledge and understanding that we expect people to have about a platform before they can full immerse themselves into something that ends up looking disruptive. But, what happens if we can lower the bar, or raise the awareness of the owner to what’s possible from their device? What then does disruptive look like? And what’s attainable from that point?

I didn’t know about these thoughts, but it jarred my world like no other when I read Rita’s post so long ago. Since then, mobile (and tech in general) has been much more about understanding the role of disruptive technologies, and using it only when it makes the most sense to improving the world around me, or at least how I live within it.

I’ve got a new mobile now. And the disruptive thing about it so far is how little time its needed to spend in my hands to be useful. That’s only the start of things from that point, I wonder what else can be explored given what’s in play.

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