This summer will be remembered for more than just the blistering temperatures most of the northern hemisphere seems to be suffering at the moment. It's also been a summer of smartphones, and Apple and others have dominated the headlines.
Next week the Top 10 will be all about the cream of the current crop, but Shaun was in a speculative mood this morning and, when he suggested this topic, bells went off and we were arguing the toss in an instant.
A lot of things didn't make the cut. I'd have liked to include multiple, co-operating operating systems but this was dubbed too geeky. What can I say? The IT Crowd is back on TV and I'm cultivating my inner Roy.
So here we have it: our Top 10 thoughts on the future of smartphones, with a couple of less-than-serious Honourable Mentions. As ever, your comments are welcome if you think we've missed a trick.
Mention: Nasty anti-theft systems
Shaun Nichols: We can't all get a police raid when our phones go missing, but there are some rather creative ways vendors could protect phones, or at least make the lives of phone thieves a bit more miserable.
Apple's MobileMe has some interesting recovery features, such as location and remote wipe. But they should go further and offer features such as the ability not only to phone home, but to phone the local police.
My anti-theft method of choice would be a handset with the ability to deliver an electric shock, but I can't see that getting past the regulators. So instead I'd settle for the ability to play songs or sound files at top volume. After all, who's going to want a stolen phone on a non-stop loop of Slim Whitman?
Iain Thomson: I’m much more old fashioned than Shaun. I favour a metal spike in the headset that can be pre-set to pop out when the thief answers. There's something about having a phone stolen that turns even the most hardened liberal into a Visigoth.
We're getting there in terms of mobile theft systems. We can already lock down and wipe smartphones that are stolen, and it' going to take a major shift in law if some of the more outlandish systems Shaun and I discussed are to be implemented. Then again, I think a research station in South Africa, home of the flame-throwing car, might be an idea.
The fact is that phones get stolen or lost a lot, and we need to find some way of stopping this happening. Someone's going to find out a method and get very, very rich when they do.
Iain Thomson: OK, this isn't remotely on the horizon yet but the idea of a phone physically embedded in your body does have some merit.
Think of the advantages. You'd never lose the damn thing, it's one less thing to carry, instant access to your contacts and calendar and you'd be able to go out to dinner and not have half the tedious bores in the group whack down their phones and start talking about how good they are.
Maybe I've been reading too much science fiction but I'd be very happy to have a phone implanted, once there's been some pretty extensive testing of the system. Sure, there could be problems, but the convenience factor alone makes this something to strive for.
Shaun Nichols: Oh man, if you think iPhone fans are bad wait until it comes in implant form. And what happens when you need to replace the battery?
I'm not sure I'd want an entire phone implanted (particularly not with the substances currently in use) but I could see semi-permanent procedures, such as placing wireless sound buds within the ear canal, catching on with users.
There's all sorts of potential for things to go wrong, however, and I think you will have to see huge advances not only in miniaturisation but in non-toxic material use and clean energy, before we can even talk about the possibility of smartphone wetware.
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