David Pogue's position as tech columnist for the New York Times puts him in a position to see trends before they come over the horizon. At the J. Boye conference in Philadelphia, he shared a few in his keynote speech.
The Internet Comes to Cellphones
Not smartphones, cellphones. Increasing horsepower "in the cloud", as well as lots of human power, is making it possible to use ordinary cellphones for a lot of Net functions.
GOOGL: Text a query to this address with anything you want -- directions, definitions, anything -- and get an answer back in five seconds or less (often much less). Text a carrier and flight number to get full schedule information, for instance. Powered by 10,000 trained operators, GOOGL is a free and very useful way to navigate the Net. Or you can call 1-800-GOOG-411 and get detailed directions with a few voice commands -- such as to the closest cheesesteak here in Philly.
Call-to-text: Verizon's voicemail message is so long because the company makes $100 million a year off the connection time. Try outputting messages to text using a service like Jott and avoid delay -- or fattening the corporate beast.
The Rise of the REALLY Smartphone
The iPhone gets all the press, but Pogue sees smartphones becoming ubiquitous in a few years. The App store is interesting because it's re-monetizing software -- no longer will it just be given away for free -- and smartphone 'ware may transform our world.
Right now it's the app that makes a lightsaber noise when you wave your iPhone, but imagine never getting lost again, or being able to scan any object and get a full report of the materials it's made of and whether it was sustainably or ethically produced.
In tech, we've heard this term to death. But Pogue points out that tech people aren't the real audience. Ordinary folks are 'going 2.0' in increasing and record numbers and we may be reaching a tipping point of adoption.
It's not just biggies like Facebook, either, but the 'Fortune 10,000' of apps. Domystuff allows you to outsource any task you are willing to pay for. Goloco allows strangers to meet and share rides anywhere. Whoissick invites you to input your symptoms and then see who else in your neighborhood has got what you've got.
Together, applications like these are fundamentally changing the way we deal with the world -- in fact, as Pogue said, they're making the world 2.0.