One of the big themes of the research day at this year's Intel Developer Forum (IDF) was the notion of convergence and interoperability; the idea that gadgets of the future will be able to interact with the world and other gadgets around them in a seamless and intuitive manner and simultaneously make all our lives immeasurably more enjoyable.
The vision goes something like this:
Imagine, if you will, having one device that, for example, is primarily a mobile phone just as we know one today but that also has GPS, loads of storage for music and video, and sophisticated Internet and email browsing capabilities (yes, I know there are devices that already have all these capabilities but bear with me). Where some of the convergence and interoperability technologies that Intel proposes come into play is in how this device reacts to the world around it.
In this utopian future, when you step into your car the in-car entertainment centre (ICEC) will recognise your phone has some music on it and, with a single confirmation, you will be able to browse and playback the music on your phone using the car stereo - steering wheel controls and all. Likewise, the ICEC will recognise the GPS receiver in your phone and display a route planner on the in-car head-up display that has all your preferred routes and favourite locations listed on it. There's no wires, no synching, and no matter what make your phone or car is, the interaction just works.
Next, let's imagine you've arrived at your friend's house and you both fancy watching a movie, and of course, you just so happen to have one stored on your phone. In the past (or should that be present) getting this file to playback on your friends TV would've required one of two things; either your friend has some sort of media player device under their TV, in which case you'd need to copy the file to a network location that the media player can see or put it on a USB stick that can be plugged into the player, or, if you happen to have the TV-out cable for your phone with you, you can plug the phone directly into the TV. I'm sure you'd agree neither of these options is particularly elegant.
However, this is the future and all you need to do now is wander up to the TV, swipe your phone near the Close Proximity Wireless Verification Sensor (CPWVS - yes I have just made this up) and sit back down on the sofa. The two devices will now be synced and the TV will appear as a playback device on your phone. Just select the movie file you want, choose the TV as the playback device, sit back, and enjoy.
It all sounds wonderful doesn't it? Well, of course it does - fantasies always do!