Mobile pioneer calls for less device convergence

14 Feb 2008

The future of mobile devices should be one of divergence rather than convergence, says the man credited as the pioneer of the mobile phone.

"We're trying to make handsets universal devices that do voice, text, MP3s, photos, video, Internet access, but while they can do these things generally, they don't do any of them well," said Martin Cooper, chairman of ArrayComm.

Speaking at a press lunch Wednesday hosted by the LiMo Foundation, Cooper said he envisioned a future where mobile devices are tailored to people's needs, where instead of jamming consumer electronics into cell phones, manufacturers would install wireless devices into consumer electronics.

Offering photography as an example, Cooper said, "Instead of putting a camera into the phone, the camera should have a wireless device inside it, with one button to shoot and another button to send it to your editor or your PC. Or look at MP3 players - why not make them wireless so that if you want to listen to a particular piece of music, you can access it and hear it immediately‾"

Cooper added that the most important application for this approach could be medical apps.

"At very low cost, you can measure just about every function in your body. You can already buy products that do this, like the [Zoll Lifecor] LifeVest, which measures about 30 different functions. Think of what you could do if, when you get sick, you could take that info and send it wirelessly straight to the doctor or a very smart computer and get diagnosed right then, not whenever you can get an appointment," he said.

Cooper allowed that it would take many years for the mobile industry to move in this direction.

"Revolutions tend to take at least a generation," he said. "But it will happen."

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