Tuesday, 21 February 2017

old phones for new? hey alexa, what color are your eyes?


As part of the ongoing tidying and clearance operations, I stumbled across this time capsule of old phones. They were tucked away in the back of the garage, in a crate. Ironic that this is the week that the owners of the Nokia brand for one of the phones announce they are to restart Nokia 3110 production.

I never had a 3110, which was the type that had the gimmicky plastic cover swaps. My professional 6110 and subsequent phones all had 10 day plus battery life and held on to calls even on one bar signal strength. They were brilliant for, yes, making phone calls and I had several generations that all fitted the same car kit. I remember buying that Ericsson 'World' at Brussels airport duty free when I was on the way to the USA in the days before everything worked everywhere.

Nokia's approach changed around the time of the 7110 with the Matrix style spring cover hiding the keyboard. Nokia changed the buttons to a roller and it just didn't work as well. But it had that predictive text system which worked okay if you only had a few keys. It still fitted the car kit though. But then we were all given a succession of Blackberries right up to when the iPhone appeared.

My question now is whether there will be a new demand for a simple phone based upon advances in voice recognition? For example, 'Hey Alexa' works okay, but is still somewhat temperamental when it wakes up unexpectedly in the middle of a movie when it thinks it hears its name. Like with the playful deliberate sequence in Mr Robot.

Meanwhile, my experimental holding of shares in Apple continue to go north. They are showing a 51% gain since I bought them last year. As well as the upcoming Chinese and Indian 5SE update, Apple are allegedly expecting an iPhone super cycle in September, when they release something that includes augmented reality and wireless charging. Has anyone else noticed the increase of iBeacons around certain areas (buses and tubes spring to mind)? But whatever they do with the next iPhone I bet it won't fit my current car kit.

Here's one of those Mr Robot scenes from S2E11, redrawn here in cartoon form via DSC. Dominique DiPierro is played by Grace Gummer (that's Meryl Streep's daughter). Alexa is the sightly weird North American Alexa.

As a footnote, this cartoon version doesn't trip Alexa, I think it's because of the rerecorded audio?

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