Vakkotaur (vakkotaur) wrote,

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There's knowing and _knowing_.

Last year Eric Raymond posted Smartphone, the Eater-of-Gadgets in which he mentions all the things phones can do now and wonders what else they might do in the future. I've recently experienced this firsthand. For some time I used a phone as a(n alarm) clock and watch and sometimes calculator, but that was about it.

With the form factor of the HTC Inspire 4G, it might replace a pocket watch but not a wristwatch (the previous phone was an easy flip-it-open to read while still on the belt thing, this the new phone would require being removed from a holder, I think) but that is about the only limitation:

* I've used the new phone as phone, of course. And gotten myself a Google Voice number that works well with the Google-Android integration.

* I've used it as a GPS - the time estimate in walking mode was about right.

* I've used it as an FM broadcast receiver and it impressed me with selectivity and sensitivity I don't get even in larger, dedicated radios.

* I have yet to see it against a clear night sky, but I have Google Sky so it's also an electronic planisphere.

* I've used it as a flashlight (nothing fancy, and not good on battery, but it works).

* I've used it as the portable computer it is and browsed with Opera, logged into another machine over ssh, and even been on IRC for a few minutes (for the first time, I can see a use for a bluetooth keyboard - though I doubt I'll get one just for that.)

* I've used it not merely as a simple calculator, but even have it emulate an HP48.

* I've used it, even if only testing the features, as camera[1] and a video recorder.

- There are e-book reader applications (I have yet to install any) that are meant to work like a Nook or a Kindle.

All that is impressive, but what really brought it home to me was that when I needed to make a shopping list for a rather long trip a couple days ago I didn't look for a bit of paper. I installed a note application and put a shortcut on the 'desktop' to my list. I know that's a PDA sort of thing that's been around since at least the late 1980s. But I never really saw the point of using a PDA - it would just have been carrying around some extra thing. But I carry the phone anyway, so it may as well "eat" other gadgets - even something as mundane as paper.

[1] The thinness of the phone means the optics aren't as nice as a proper camera, but two things make up for that. 1. I'll almost always have the phone (and thus the camera) with me and 2. The 8 Megapixel sensor means I can reduce the image and likely retain sufficient quality for most purposes.

Tags: esr, phone
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