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Mozilla Labs Presents Seabird Concept Phone 61

Posted by Soulskill
from the does-it-print-money dept.
Several readers tipped news of a presentation on the Mozilla Labs blog about what they call Seabird, "a community-driven mobile phone concept." It's an imagining of what future phone tech could look like, using dual pico projectors and a Bluetooth/IR dongle to more easily interact with apps and web interfaces. "With mobile phone companies such as Samsung, LG and Motorola moving towards display applications for projectors, the technology remains open for expanding user interaction and input at the same time. The Seabird, on just a flat surface, enables netbook-quality interaction by working with the projector’s angular distortion to deliver interface, rather than content. With the benefit of a dock, each projector works independently and delivers laptop levels of efficiency."
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Mozilla Labs Presents Seabird Concept Phone

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  • by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Friday September 24, 2010 @10:10AM (#33687610) Journal

    You see dozens of concept phones and they're always cool or super-capable in some way. But it's easy to create a cool concept when you don't have to consider real world limitations like battery life, cost, size limitations, etc. This phone concept is no different. It is packed with every phone fantasy the Mozilla community had. Of course it's going to be cool. But it's also telling that the Mozilla Labs people also have no intent for actually making one.

  • by not already in use (972294) on Friday September 24, 2010 @10:12AM (#33687648)
    It's always funny when you see future technologies that are doomed for failure. The projected keyboard has to be one of the most obviously useless features continually perpetuated as something that we will eventually have. I can only imagine how difficult and frustrating it would be to try and use one.
  • by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Friday September 24, 2010 @10:45AM (#33688088)
    Yes, it's only a concept phone, and Mozilla has no plans to make it. Yes, it's easy to make technology super-awesome when you only have to deal in concepts, and not engineering.

    But are you implying that this makes concept designs useless? Personally, I love them. The point is to show all the many-splendid things that could be possible if more advanced technology were available. Which makes sense to do, since technology continually advances. A concept design does many things: it gets people excited about possibilities, it gives product designers/engineers ideas about what to try next. Perhaps most importantly, it lets us all ruminate about, and discuss, design choices long before major effort has been expended. This lets us pick out great ideas and shoot down bad ones.

    For instance, I'm sure many Slashdotters had moments of "that will never work because of X" or "that would suck because of Y" while watching the video. These criticisms can be helpful, as a concept design is refined to bring it closer to what a real-world device would have to do. And conversely many of us I'm sure had ideas like "That's awesome! If it could that, I bet I could hack it to do Z!" Many things we now use, and take for granted (touchscreen mobile phones among them) were ridiculous concept-designs at one time.

    All I'm saying is that rather than just being "this is not and never will be a real device... lame" we should be discussing what is right or wrong about this particular design. We should be dreaming about future technology... because we are part of the process of making that technology come to be!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2010 @10:48AM (#33688118)

    Yeah, I was hoping this would be something like "Mozilla has an idea for an open phone platform based on a flexible UMPC". Even Android is locked down by the carriers or whoever.

    But no, it's, "Mozilla has a crazy-ass idea for projector phones".

    I don't want new technology in phones, I just want the existing stuff to become open so *I* can use it instead of having the manufacturer use it on my behalf.

  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Friday September 24, 2010 @10:49AM (#33688142)

    Well, it's like Google rolling out Gigabit broadband. They know that it's not going to work right now, the technology isn't there yet to do it in a way that is profitable. But they are very curious about how people will respond to such an offer, how they use a net connection with such high download speeds, and what kinds of web services they can plan to bring to bear when the technology does make it cost effective.

    Similarly, this is the direction that the Mozilla team thinks that mobile phone technology is going (I'll leave the argument about whether they are right and wrong for another post). So, if the phone of the future has multiple projectors, head tracking, in air gestures, multitouch, voice activation, keyboard and mouse integration, etc... what kinds of products and services make sense on such a device? How do those new technologies change the way people use their phones, and how can software writers capitalize on them?

  • by judgecorp (778838) on Friday September 24, 2010 @11:07AM (#33688382) Homepage
    I don't want to quibble, and I know it does everything else you could want, but surely mini-USB is yesterday, and we should get with the excitement in data cable connections... :-) http://www.eweekeurope.co.uk/news/mozilla-shows-seabird-concept-phone-10036 [eweekeurope.co.uk]
  • by thewils (463314) on Friday September 24, 2010 @11:18AM (#33688510) Journal

    That nowhere in the concept video do we see someone actually talking on the thing.

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