Intel Corp’s top technology guru, Justin Rattner, says personal devices will be used more as personal assistants or companions in the future as the company gets ready to move into what’s termed ‘context-aware computing’. But it also poses many problems in terms of identity theft, as the devices will learn and hold more information that is personal.
According to Reuters, smartphones and televisions will be able to combine common geographic location technology with data from microphones, cameras, heart and body monitors and even brain scans to offer owners advice that goes way beyond local restaurants and new songs to download.
Intel is working on technology that will put itself in the forefront of smartphone technology, as it tries to catch up with rivals, Apple and RIM, in the lucrative market for smartphones. According to market research company, IDC, the smartphone industry which includes technology giants like LG and Samsung, is likely to sell 270 million phones this year, and grow 25 percent in 2011.
“I think you can expect to see features that support context-aware computing starting to appear in Intel products in the not-too-distant future,” Rattner said.
“Imagine a device that uses a variety of sensory modalities to determine what you are doing at an instant, from being asleep in your bed to being out for a run with a friend. Future devices will constantly learn about who you are, how you live, work and play.”
At Intel’s Developer Forum in San Francisco, Rattner also demonstrated a television remote control that figures out who is holding it based on how it is held, and then learns the viewer’s entertainment preferences.
Industry watchers have said, however, that Intel faces an uphill battle getting its microchips into new phones as Nvidia, Marvell and Qualcomm have already made headway with cheap, lower-power processors based on designs by UK company, ARM Holdings. Other issues about privacy, and people’s willingness to be intimate with their computers, will also have to be resolved before the future generation of smartphones Rattner described takes off.
“If you think identity threat is a problem today, imagine when your whole context is readily available on the Net,” Rattner said.