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October 26, 2006

Term Project Blog 3: Smart phones for casual users

Treo recently released a New Form of its very popular business phone, the Treo 680. This phone is a smaller, sleeker, simpler design than the previous treos, and is aimed for younger/more casual users, rather than the common business professional users of the Treo 700. The most notable changes include the various phone colors, such as red, orange, and white; it also excludes the antenna that previous models had. Treo hasn't decided which wireless company it will sell the phone to, although it would have to be T. Mobile or Cingular, as the phone only works with G.S.M networks. The phone has a battery life of 300 hours standby, or 4 hours talk time. It also has the same capabilities as the more "professional" treos that currently are on the market, such as bluetooth, an SD memory card slot, and infrared wireless technology. The treo can also update calanders and contact information from both PCs and MACs. Other than the major physical changes, the phone remains very similar to the Treo 700 models, with the exception of the use of WiFi technology.

The developement of this more visually appealing, smaller smart phone is an indication that phone manufacturers are realizing the potential for a more price efficient business phone for younger users. The ability for smart phones to connect to other devices wirelessly (as well as to WiFi, although these new Treo models are unable to do so) also indicates the trend for phones to perform more an more laptop related tasks. Whatever the case may be, the Treo 680 is likely to break into a new market niche and sell very well.

Posted by rentsche at 04:03 PM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2006

Term Project Blog 2: New Memory Devices

The article “Digital Age May Bring Total Recall In Future� reports on two projects looking to use technology as a way to have a back-up memory. Many people have trouble remembering the name of someone they met or a conversation that happened many years ago. These new devices would give people a kind of back-up brain. At Microsoft, a team is developing software called MyLifeBits. The head researcher, Gordon Bell, records everything from phone calls to home movies and stores them on a computer in digital form. The goal is to record everything that comes to his eyes and ears so that the lifetime library on his computer acts as a surrogate memory. With the software, he can search through what he has stored to find old conversations, photographs, or whatever else a person would want to remember.

Another researcher, Sunil Vemuri, co-founded Q-Tech Inc. to work on similar technology. He hopes to use current devices, such as cell phones, to record daily happenings. The device can sit on a person’s hip and record audio of conversations and other events. The audio is then sent to a computer and translated into searchable text. He feels that cell phones are an optimal choice for the technology because people already carry cell phones with them wherever they go.

The idea behind these two projects is innovative. People do lose their memories as they age, and even young people cannot remember every detail of a conversation. The question is: do people really need every detail of every conversation? Especially with personal issues, people may not want every second of their lives recorded. In addition, having all of this random information on someone’s personal computer could take up a lot of space. If the user has to sort through conversations they want to save and those they want to delete, the person would waste a lot of time. Moreover, users may become stuck in the past if they constantly look back at old photographs and conversations. Their time may be better spent making new memories. Issues with privacy could also limit the success of these projects. Not only does the person using the recorder have to watch out, but the people around who do not know about the recorder are also in danger. Anything they say or do could be recorded without them knowing and later used against them. While these memory projects have good intentions, the researchers will have to get past many obstacles before the product can ever be successful.

Posted by sumorgan at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2006

Term Project Blog 1: Smartphones

The article “Smartphones: Not Ready for Prime Time – Yet,� discusses the recent boom of smartphones. Smartphones are cell phones with various other capabilities. Users can access e-mail, open attachments, work on spreadsheets and organize calendars. These have been popular in corporate settings, and manufacturers are now attempting to target consumers, emphasizing newer smartphone features such as MP3 players and instant messaging. Lower cost options are becoming available, which will help attract consumers not willing to pay top price for this product. There is concern that consumers will not be interested in this product that had previously been targeted to help with the organization of business professionals. It is too soon to determine whether or not manufacturers will attract a wider market as more functions are added to the smartphone.

This is a useful product in the business world, as it makes it easy for one to communicate with colleagues while on a business trip. They can stay organized and be sure to make it to all meetings. They are also useful if one has time off, but still needs to stay in touch with the office, is waiting for an important e-mail or looking up specific company information. We have seen family and friends use some type of smartphone when visiting during their vacation time. They do not have to worry about staying right by a computer to obtain specific information, so they are still able to relax. For the busy working man or woman, the smartphone is very convenient.

The general consumer will use the product quite differently. Someone that travels often and communicates much via e-mail and instant messenger, may find the functions of a smartphone valuable instead of simply relying on a cellphone for communication. The smartphone combines different technologies like camera phones, instant messaging, and MP3 players. It could be convenient for the tech savvy individual to have just one device with the various capabilities, but may be more confusing for someone with little knowledge on technology. At the initial $300-$500 for a smartphone, many would not find it worth it. As manufacturers come out with less expensive versions, they may gain more appeal. Consumers can use them but do not need them, so they will be easier to market if they are less expensive. We would utilize a smartphone in the future in a business setting but it would currently not be worth it to us to have one. It will be nice to access business information, e-mails, and your calendar at anytime, anywhere. However, if you are not traveling often, this information is easily accessible without a smartphone. The additional functions such as MP3 are a nice addition, but would not convince us to buy this business device if we would not also be utilizing the other functions.

Posted by traceyja at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)

October 04, 2006


Blog Authors:

We are all in section 1!

Posted by traceyja at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)