XDA III WISHLIST
I purchased the original O2 XDA as soon as it was released and some of my wishlist has been fulfilled by HTC with the XDA II. With MSN Messenger, Outlook and Pocket Word I found that there was little need for a laptop and use of my desktop also reduced... equally there are numerous reasons why I am glad to find some dedicated XDA developers...
Wishlist for XDA III starts with:
1) UMTS... 3 should contract HTC to do this as soon as a dual tranciever becomes small enough, the XDA would make a great video phone platform and would give 3 the best PDA phone on the market. I would immediately choose 3 over 02 (or any non-3G operator) if this were the case... however O2 wins at the moment as GSM/GPRS are ample for email and IM.
2) Video out (so I can hook it up to eyewear or an external screen) my next goal when I upgrade to the XDA II. Also... it should be video out at higher resolutions such as 640x480 enough for XDA III and ideally later to 800x600 ++ etc...
and why not ask for firewire NVidia style graphics processing, a few gigs of RAM and a Lenslet optical DSP too while on my long term wishlist!
[okay update is scrap the Lenslet Optical DSP - it turned out to be a TI DLP essentially] - And guys I like the new look but you have squished some of the message topics so where does this belong - Hacking it isn't quite right - I'm talking rebuilding it, I only got one reply this month and it wasn't really relevant
[Actually scrap PDAs altogether... with eyewear (and a wearable PC) looking at a piece of Augmented Reality (AR) paper and holding an e-pen is going to be better than anything a PDA can ever offer (sorry HTC) e.g. 24 bit colour with 3D graphs and images that rise out of the page on a full A4/Letter sized PDA that folds up and fits in your pocket and cost $5 for 500 sheets. No contest]
Anyone feel free to send on the XDA III ideas to HTC though... the glasses may be many years away :(
3) The usual form-factor miniturization requirements... HTC have done well to get slightly smaller with the antenna and still pack so much more punch. Equally though when this device's width and height can be miniturised to approach the screen size it won't have any trouble competing in the regular handset market (and should clean up [okay I take that back too] - so this should be a key goal). Actually Microsoft should simply dump Stinger and put the money into R&D at HTC and its component suppliers to get the components and the XDA smaller quickly.
4) A flip up phone numeric/alpha keypad that covers 80% of the screen while in phone mode showing just phone status and number dialed on the screen *and* that then flips back about 180 degrees and perhaps folds out left and right to reveal a good qwerty keypad on its reverse... this would be most useful for speed/finger dialing in the numeric mode (which is impractical/slow on the original XDA) and also is necessary for texting with SMS and on MSN Messenger (something I think the device will increasingly be used for by corporate users now that Microsoft has released its real time communications server products)
This keypad should also fold fully back another 180 degrees into the back of the XDA III and automatically disable the keys in this configuration so the device can still function as a normal pen based PDA without anything activating or getting in the way. Would need some re-engineering to work with the current location of the ports and MMC slot etc... and may need to fold left or right etc... instead of up/down but I will leave that up to the HTC engineers to work out. I am sure it can be done and other phones are already doing at least part of this function. Also may need to create a special TFT that allows partial back-light to save power when in 'phone' use mode and the rest of the screen is covered and not in use (or maybe not?... expect it will depend on battery useage/production cost vs benefit user scenarios and testing - again over to you HTC).
5) Ability to replace the face-plate covers to style the device would be good but ideally will be best done when the form-factor reaches a stable size if want to make a recurring consumer market/revenue from them as Nokia does... so may be best to leave this one to XDA IV or V. (I came up with a way to prevent 3rd parties from creating unlicensed face-plates and make them much more valuable but that is another story and best left out of the wishlist at the moment for IPR/legal reasons).
6) A thumb control panel on the side of the device that is interchangeable left or right to cater for left-handed/right-handed 'one-hand' operation. This is something Sony has done relatively well with their jog-dial on phones which I understand they hold a patent on... it serves the same function as the wheel on a standard Microsoft intelli-mouse (spelling?). However most other manufacturers seem to have missed that a wheel is not optimal for a thumb to move and a four way tilt-switch (sort of like a better Toshiba laptop pointer) with the appropriate software controls to handle 'acceleration' through a list would work equally as well as a wheel... best shown diagramatically (hoping font is fixed width - ok ignore dots as the message board has removed spaces and I have dinner waiting so aren't going to bother putting nbsp HTML tags in):
Handset (e.g. XDA III) as seen profile from the right hand side standing vertically (e.g. screen to the left):
...........................Scroll UP list
Back/Cancel/Left........< X >...........Right/Forward
.........................Scroll DOWN list
X - marks the Activate/Call/Fire key (e.g. push in/down)
Ugly but makes sense hopefully.
(controls would flip when the attachment was slid/plugged in on the lefthand side for left handed use)...
(Also thinking that using the two sides of the XDA to slide different control panels in would achieve what the iPaq tried to do but which was too bulky with the 'sleeve'. E.g. someone might want to put a thumb-print reader on it etc... actually that should just go as standard where the X button is above!!! That should give HTC some fun!)
The side-panel 'pointer' idea above is a carry-on invention from a controller I came up with back on the Amiga 500 which I called a Turtle (it simply combined a tilting shell - the joystick - on top of a mouse. It was more to stop having to change plugs at the back of the Amiga than for any other reason back then but I realised later it would have allowed the same control as an intelli-mouse (if Workbench had had the software controls built in...) for scrolling based on rocking the shell forward/back/left/right). For a phone the concept is slightly different but I have tested out all usable scenarios on paper with the 4 way tilt-switch plus 'click' push for one-handed phone operation and it would be a very useful addition to the side of the XDA to allow scrolling up and down and moving left and right (particularly when using Pocket Internet Explorer since most websites are not optimised for it yet and the width of the page does not fit on the screen requiring excessive pen based scrolling. Also Back/Foward and Up would allow page/folder browsing controls similar to those on IE and Windows Explorer). Also I think it would be most handy for getting through contact/number lists rapidly when needed in one-hand operation just as the Sony phones allow now. When voice commands are added that will allow the XDA to browse say to a given URL hands free but it will still need a one-handed control button like this as it would be a pain to keep having to say 'scroll down', especially on a bus or in a public place (noting that the current multi-directional controller allows this but is not ideally located for one handed operation).
7) Secure authentication at the hardware level and a smart card reader slot to allow bank and payment cards to be used for direct debts. This would allow something for O2 or 3 that I originally thought of in Cambridge for Rational to reduce their licensing costs... but it works equally well the other way around and involves charging for the use of applications on a per-use or per-feature use basis rather than as a package. This would provide operators with the incentive to pre-load the XDA with the very best software available and to do OTA updates of it to ensure users were always happy... I would like this mostly because it would allow some predictability in the size of the bill at the end of each month, traffic seems like a primitive way to charge and per-useage/feature would be preferrable... 'User Pays' is probably the best term... (equally well if you don't use it because a given piece of software sucks, I don't want to have to pay a software license fee to find this out). In any case it should force the right motives for mobile/PPC software vendors and could create a 'best-of-breed' software product set for the XDA based on the financial incentive of getting the best software for each user so they 'want' to run up a bill (sic). It could be done with both Java based and MS/PPC based products and it is probably best done in partnership with Microsoft at the OS level as I heard they are working on some kind of billing system already and didn't want to work with Geneva on it.
8) Okay, some other simpler ideas... the controller mentioned above could act as a good volume control during a call or during music playback as it is more 'analogue' to touch and control (don't know why Microsoft still hasn't put an analogue twist-style 'digital potentiometer' on the PC keyboard for volume and similar functions) however it is preferrable to the pointer finger located click-button approach on many phones which is distracting to use during a call. I should have mentioned above the four-way thumb-push/tilt thing needs to have a nice 'feel' - it could concievably be a graduated push/pull/tilt control that startes with easy movement (for gross initial control) and then becames harder for precision... I think though it might be too small for force-feedback :lol:
9) So that is a requirement also - XDA III should come pre-loaded with good software... taking the per-usage billing model (and interchangeable or pre-built on multi-coloured face plates) it should be possible to brand the XDA as more than just a silver corporate device. I think it has the potential to be *the* key device leading on to becoming a wearable PC. One version should also be branded as a games machine with all the latest games on it and little features in the game like buying an upgraded weapon could make the operator a tiny fee, another device aimed at corporates (with partnership deals to allow for per-industry/company specialisation) and why not do a household style one for men/women to use in the kitchen to get recipies, as a shopping list to get groceries etc... Thinking about it probably the biggest market would be to do a stripped down version that focuses on MSN Messenger and sell it to school-kids charging 2-5 pence/cents per message... it would save parents from having to buy a separate PC for the kids. Or keep it full-featured and tailor it to school work so that it becomes a must-buy for all kids and gets part funded by the govt... pre-configured with maths/homework programs, teacher contacts and course calendar etc... Could actually be good at University level also since my XDA was the first device I have had that actually did handwriting recognition to the point I could take proper notes. In any case ... 'pre-configured' is a term that should be applied to XDA III.
10) Thinking of uses once it has UMTS... it could become *the* key platform for interactive TV around the house and office... after all interactive TV is valuable only when you want to 'do' something and most of the time I'm doing things I am not in front of a TV set. It would be great for example to have a 'ruggardised' version of the XDA that I could use in the electronics workshop, dad's wood workshop or in the garage... actually the more I think about it Microsoft needs to do something to get integrated video in the Internet Explorer window rather than on Media-player on the Pocket PC... plus with schematics (SVG) etc... so someone can get an engine assembly diagram etc... or more relevant here, I'd like to get an XDA 3D cut-away, schematic and wiring diagram so I can make my own video-out now.
11) That also means the little camera on the XDA II should really next time be mounted on the top of the XDA III with a swivel camera that 'flips' the picture depending on whether it is facing towards the screen and user or away from it towards an object. My Sony Vaio (PC1XA model if I recall correctly) had this and it was a great feature allowing recording of the other participants at meetings or self-videoing for conferencing with Netmeeting.
12) The addition of the camera in this swivel configuration would also allow gesture based controls now that the xScale processors are getting suitably fast enough to allow such recognition tasks - ideally I'd rather have a 3D version of myself sent across on a video conference based on a model that was adapted to match my facial expression but that was looking awake and good no matter what hour it was... :shock:
Bar-code recognition software could be added to the household version when adding up the shopping or equally for the supermarket themselves to do stock and inventory control, etc... That was another thing the Sony Vaio had in a rather primative form... perhaps also the res of the camera would need to go up for XDA III.
Any other ideas for the XDA Wishlist please post them here and we can trade them with HTC in return for them opening up their data on the device...
Also I am interested to hear from anyone who is working with configuring the XDA I or II as a wearable with alternative I/O. Goal: eye-glasses mounted screen and to take the infrared detection used on some video camera eye-pieces (I read about this in popular science in the 80's so the patent must be close to expiring) to detect where the eye is looking and mount this on glasses along with a screen... I have a couple of ideas to act as left/right mouse click and have found some ways to make it practical such as using ultrasonic sound emitters instead of having to have those terrible little buds in my ear all the time for hands-free. These aren't really 'speakers' as the ear lobe will hopefully act as the speaker where the ultrasonic waves hit it and (entirely depending on how small these emitters can me made) I am hoping that they can also be mounted on the stem of the glasses frame just in front or behind the ear (or both to do some 3d fx). As such the emmitters will ideally not need to go inside the ear and will act as the replacement of an earpiece. Ultimately I would like to get this also detecting incoming sound and perhaps working as a selective noise-reduction device by using the processing power of the PPC (oh yeah that was the other thing... better DSP capabilities in the XDA III - using DSPs more may also help reduce the form-factor as Sony did with the Clie).
I've got to go eat dinner, upon re-reading some of the above may need clarification. Please post any replies or queries here... Keen to hear from software/hardware developers who might want to work on wearable I/O based applications that push the current hardware...
[changed to - keen to hear from anyone who wants to build new hardware designs since the current lot a too slow]