mobile vs located

Sometimes the important thing about a device like an iPhone or a Kindle is that it’s portable, also known as mobile. For example they let you carry a lot more books around than if the books were physical.

But sometimes you’ll have a thing like a Boxee, which is a living room device, that’s important in the same way. That way is that it’s *located*. A Boxee is designed for living rooms. It’s the right computer for a living room.

If you use a Chumby as an alarm clock, which is the form factor it copies, it’s located when it’s in your bedroom by where your alarm clock used to be.

A mobile phone with a computer in it is portable, sure. But if you get a phone-based app that’s designed for your living room, then it’s located.

Even a standard PC is located — it’s the right computing tool for your desk.

Located apps complement the place where you are. Some apps are mobile in that they are supposed to be all over the place. A phone is like that — the point is to be location-independent.


This augmented reality deal blows my mind. I am in awe. It makes me want to laugh madly.


What about located music? When is a music app located?

The thing I’m working lately has a located aspect. The fact that it’s located is the point of it.

9 thoughts on “mobile vs located

  1. I love my Chumby as my bed-side alarm clock/weather thing/toy/phone and Kindle charger thing.

    Anyway, as long as data exists and a device can parse it, we’re golden. Geo-tagged music, mmmmm. My phone can hear, my phone can see. And in some cases, my phone can think. Almost like a little person in my pocket!

  2. This week my wife and I toured the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. The center does fascinating work, and is housed in a great I.M. Pei building. The main atraction for me, though, was the very first Cray Super-computer on display, with its prodigious 8 MB of memory and processing speed a little less than my current home desktop.

    During the tour, the guide pointed out that the Playstation’s architecture is somewhat similar to the Cray. I thought about how game machines prove that speed and features are not the be-all and end-all of a machine–if they were, the gamer world would be entirely PC-based. Instead, it must function well at a do-able price and carve out its niche.

    The idea of “place” in this setting is not just geographic, but also a state of mind. The best way to market a device, it seems to me, is to create a mythos of place–in the way the game console has a “place” in every home, and in the way the mobile phone has a “place” in every pocket.

  3. What if you both geo-tag and time-tag your music? The songs you first heard during a certain age span (or date range), pinned to the general geo area where you heard them.

    Don’t know that current location would factor in necessarily, but it might be a basis for finding people with similar tastes.

  4. “What about located music? When is a music app located?”

    Local music venues, music shops (the ones still in business), locations tagged for having had street performers? Geotagged videos of music performances from nearby?

    A feature I’d like to see in located apps is a kind of “fast forward,” a feature to allow scrolling towards an interesting destination without having to actually walk there. Users may not always have a single destination in mind, but looking one most interesting to them.

    A globally sharable geotag database that provides links back to content and pages would be nice.

    These apps may run into over-tagging issues, they’ve gotta be cognizant of TMI, and provide paging or some other way to organize location-linked data without overwhelming the display or the user.

    Also, I imagine that users are gonna see battery impact with the live camera view running constantly. Price of admission I guess, unless someone comes up with a fancier way to project snapshots taken, perhaps via OpenGL.

    More AR apps-

    http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/kit-eaton/technomix/augmented-reality-round-navigation-apps

    The subway finder app’s inclinometer usage looks quite smooth, didn’t notice any spikes. Damn I’ve got to get an iPhone, if just to check out the competition (I’m an Android and Blackberry dev.)

    Anybody here used it yet? Wondering if it’s got HopStop-like capability, to specify a destination and get multi-legged travel directions.

  5. Eric, what apps do you run on your Chumby? Anything specific to the bedside location?

    My chumby lives on a bookshelf in the living room now. I mainly use it as a digital picture frame powered by my friend list on Flickr.

    I find the iPhone is untouchable as an alarm clock. Best alarm UI ever.

  6. Kevin, your AR thoughts make me think about a 2nd Life overlay on Google Maps Street View.

    Seems to me that the digital bits planted in a location would be like ghosts. You could only see or detect them with your own geotag lookup engine running against the camera view. But they would leave traces in the real world, like longer lines at restaurants with good Yelp reviews.

  7. @Lucas at the moment, just weather and a clock, but it changes from games to various sites… whatever I’m in the mood for. I did loan it to someone when I was in Japan so my Flick feed was looping. It’s something I wish digital picture frames had more of– that kind of ‘open’ OS thing, where ‘open’ means, let me do more, even if it is with a little restrictive framework.

    Also, on the second life/google maps thing: I just moved and my property is a 5 acre rectangle, which equates to about a half of a sim. It’s quite convenient to rapid prototype the environment on an SL platform, although, I wouldn’t rely on it for production-grade apps, since the SL platform is too proprietary. But it’s all we got as far as a multiplayer 3D photoshop. Otherwise, great to visualize things we might see (I want to add a building, change the color, landscaping etc). Some augmented reality/SL stuff has been done at GA Tech, where a sim was rezzed on a RL coffee table. Fun stuff. Expect to see lots of interest from the metaverse types.

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