The smartphone has overtaken the television as the primary screen for entertainment in the home, according to speakers at yesterday’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
“At present, 80% of people sitting in front of a television are doing something else with another screen,” said Patruce Slupowski of phone network Orange.
One third is doing something which is related to the television screen — for example, chatting on Facebook or sending and reading tweets on, say, The X Factor or about a soccer match being screened on the TV.
A study by Verizon in the US, for instance, found that 65% of people watching the presidential election on television last November did so with either a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
“Designing for the glance will become very important,” said Mark Curtis of Fjord, a mobile service design company.
Curtis raised the issue of gestural conflict — where signs can be misinterpreted based on cultural differences. “We were talking with a payments company a few weeks ago and something they use as a mechanism to signal payment can in certain parts of the Middle East be interpreted as an offensive gesture. It looks like you’re begging.
“These gestural conflict issues need to be ironed out.”
What mobile phone operators call “the internet of things” has been a recurrent theme at the Mobile World Congress. At present, for example, there are 3.5bn internet-connected sensors in the world; there are also 3.5bn people with access to the internet. By 2020, there will be as many as 15 connected sensors per individual, according to Ericsson.
In a demonstration of “the smart home” in China, Weijun Lee, illustrated the array of sensors with built-in SIM cards, which can send unlimited messages, already common in Chinese homes. For example, infrared sensors are placed around windows or back doors so if an intruder breaks into a house, a text message is sent to the house’s owner.
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