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Archive for May 2007

Part II on iPhone…

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Continuing on the idea shared previously… Rather than having it flip over or detach literally, it can easily be made into a more stylish, more elegant looking slide version. The same underlying principle apply, have the soft key onscreen to map to the exact location of all the rubber key on top of the screen.

Extend that idea to the current range of large screen PDA Phones… which already has an on screen keypad for finger / stylus operation. The other thing that happens is that most people that I seen will uses the other hand to tap on screen as one hand operation is rather limited…

The more I think about it… the very possible it is to be implemented. There are some challenges that I can imagine though:

1) Driver / application to initial the soft key and that would require someone / team that’s familiar with Window Mobile which, should be alot… still need 3-6 months time for testing and development.

2) The rubber (soft or hard) on top of the screen needs to be able to give the similar keypad feel that we all are so accustomed to on our existing phone… and it needs to be durable, at least close.

3) If it is an add on, then the casing / holder needs to be well design and well constructed to ensure that prolong flipping / slidding will not cause damage to it.

Those should be common challenges that I can foresee for such implementation. For the Apple Phone though, there might be one more to worry about…

How soon or how open will Apple be to allow 3rd party developers to develop application for the Apple Phone if they are not going to implement this idea… Apple prefer a ‘closed’ framework for most things to ensure the out of box, ‘wow’ experience that everything just work! Perhaps in time after the initial launch, it will open up for developers to come in and create a eco system around it… that’s my personal guess. With its elegant design and Apple’s attention to details on the application, a lot of people will buy it because it’s ______ period. (super cool or Apple) Whether there’s a need for more application or 3rd party developers, well… it might not matter much to how well it will sell… Different approaches for Apple… different approaches for Microsoft. Both can learn from each other. 🙂

What are your thoughts today?

Written by gooddealz

May 23, 2007 at 12:22 pm

Posted in Tech Ideas

Ideas for Apple iPhone / Tablet PC…

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The idea came about slightly after Microsoft debut the Tablet PC and if memories served me right, it’s around 3-4 years ago… Back then and even till now, there are basically two kinds of design for the Tablet.

One type is where it is a full laptop with a swivel screen that can flip down and allow user to hold in the arm and tap on it… though it is much heavier due the extras like full size keyboard, CD drive and so forth…

The other design is a ‘pure’ tablet so to speak… (unless someone really define what it is, it’s kinda broad…) where there is no attached keyboard and user manipulate the input through stylus or on screen soft keyboard. Some of this design comes with a docking station to allow keyboard and CD drive to be attached…

The second type of design is the kind of design that I personally like… (I never used any one of them before but tested it out many times in showroom and exhibition) primarily because of the size and weight. This design however comes with a disadvantage. Keyboard input.

I personally type faster than I write and many of us are like that… so the idea of having a tablet without the attached keyboard is a great idea as it gives portability and flexibility. On the other hand, I want to use tablet to write report / thoughts whenever I am sitting down and would prefer to have a keyboard than using the stylus… (I have a pocket pc and even though the transcriber is excellent in the recognition department, I still type faster on the attached keyboard)

How to overcome the issue? I thought through and came out with an idea… and it still remain today as an idea… thus this blog / tech idea page to share with whoever think is workable to implement it or improve on it. The idea itself may not be original as I ain’t here to publish that I am the first and only one to come out with ideas like what I am about to describe… but certainly I have not seen it myself.

The objective of this Tech ideas page is to share the idea and not to make money (unless you hire me 🙂 ) / claims that I am the original inventor / conceptualizer… or whatever… My purpose is that I love stuff that goes around in the tech world and sometimes, being a partial geek myself, I just want to be able to have it or play with it… if the idea is good and practical. For years, many ideas come and go… and like many out there, ideas can come and go easily if not acted upon. I got a few of those that came 3-4 years ago and only recently realized that people just implemented it… thus the sense of regret… 🙂 Anyway, I overcame that part of me and decide to act on some of the ideas… To cut a long story short, due to limited resources here, or perhaps me not being determine enough… some ideas aren’t able to take off or me not having a very detail spec of how to do the prototype and so forth. But I still think it can work! So no point keeping it to myself and decide to share it.

If you / company find it workable and managed to work out something practical and money making, my only wish is that you say a thank you, give credit where credit is due, if the ideas on this page somewhat helped in the process… and provide me one final product sample to me will do. 🙂 I ain’t here for money or fame through the ideas… but simply to see good ideas come out into the commercial world and not sitting somewhere in the corner of my mind and years later, having regrets that nothing has been done or share to make it possible…

Anyway, back to the tablet thing. The first thought that came to me was, since people can write application on the platform, like Microsoft XP Tablet Edition… or any OS, and soft keyboard already comes as part of the OS, why not extend that space on screen and allow a piece of plastic or some light very portable size keyboard to be PLACED on the screen itself, occupying say 1/4 of the screen or whatever size that a comfortable keyboard would fit.

I ain’t good with image manipulation thus will not provide any visual idea on this site… but imagine a tablet the size of an A4 paper, place it in landscape mode. Have the piece of keyboard (soft or hard) to be placed over the screen to occupy 1/3 of the screen. That would give it enough space for text to be displayed and for a reasonable size keyboard to be placed over it. The keyboard just need to be something that can give the user the similar feel of typing / pressing onto a key and the impact of the key will press against the screen on the tablet where the soft keyboard will be mapped exactly underneath it.

It’s portable, it’s lightweight and there’s no extra mechanism to mount the keyboard onto the devices. Just something to hold it in place will do. This allow the user to have full screen estate if needed and if need be to type something, just simply pull out the keyboard and place it on the screen. The screen will be design with toughness in mind of course and tablet pc screen came with a layer of glass over it as they aren’t impact based like the pocket pc I have, but rather uses some sort of magnetic stuff…

You get the idea. Now, fast forward to the Mac Phone that Steve announced recently! Man, I love the design and the interface! As always, kudos to Apple for a great design / integration. The biggest concern over it would be the one hand operation of the phone. The concept itself ain’t new, cos other smartphone or pda phone or phone pda have implemented such before… no hard key… just screen and stylus. Apple pull it off very well because of the interface and the cool animation from the platform they use, which is a stripped down version of OSX… as claims.

Same idea as the tablet… to overcome this or to satisfy those people who may want the option of having a one hand operation on the phone… Something like what Sony did with the P series would work. A flip over key would revealed full screen space for stylus / tap operation. Flip it back and you get to press the key to make quick calls or sms…

Apple might have considered such thoughts but that would certainly affect the elegant design of the Apple Phone… and the cool factor… Perhaps the idea can be implemented as an add on, accessories to the phone… In this case, instead of placing it in landscape, you have the keyboard placed portrait view and it will occupy say, 1/3 of the screen (lower part) to allow for key pressing and sms function. Again, software driver can be written to call out the softkey below to map to the exact location of eact key above… It can even be made detachable if need be… or like what Sony implemented, a build in connection.

If Apple is not going to provide the accessories, imagine the possiblities for 3rd party manufacturer to have that as an add on to the Apple Phone! Get a great team of programmer and write the driver, get some good design to wrap about the phone as a form of casing / protection and have the keypad as part of the connection to connect to the phone. Walah! You solve the biggest complaint on the one hand operation thing… and leave the rest of the people to come out with push email and all those Outlook integration or document management thingy… That would certainly appeal very strongly to me if such accessories are available…

Well, if you have thought of it, great. Hope you can get it out to market in time to ride on the possible success of the Apple Phone.

I won’t mind even if you sent me the accessories as a gift, then I consider buying the Apple Phone… cos it ain’t that cheap… and coming to Singapore, in a years’ time… that would leave other phone manufacturer to catch up with their interface and implement a good phone with that much functionality and friendliness for me to choose from…

We will have to see how that goes…

Thank you for the time… here’s my first article on tech ideas… and I got a few ideas in my mind for years and will be getting them out one by one… Everyone can have ideas… but not everyone has the resources / capacity to turn those great ideas into reality… If for whatever methods have you tried and not succeeded (funding, government help, prototype, patent…) in bringing the idea to commercial use, my personal take, keep trying or if not, just share it out and let others who has the capability / resources to make it happen… and let the idea lives on.

And remember to give thanks to the one that helped your success and give him / her a piece of that commercial product! 🙂

Welcome your input / comment on the ideas…

Written by gooddealz

May 23, 2007 at 10:37 am

Posted in Tech Ideas