Forget touch screens. Qualcomm is developing a gesture-based user interface for smart devices that enables all functions to be accessed by waving your hand over the display.
Chief Paul Jacobs demonstrated the technology for the first time at the firm’s annual developer event in Istanbul, telling Telecoms Europe.net it should be ready to roll in the back half of 2012, or early 2013 at the latest.
The demo unit detects movement using an ultrasound set up utilizing the handset’s microphone and speaker, but Jacobs says the firm is “looking to integrate other sensors,” as development work continues. “We have a good roadmap,” he told TE.net.
Jacobs also provided an update on the firm’s development work around augmented reality (AR), demonstrating how the technology can be used to show movie trailers by pointing your phone at a DVD box cover. While the technology feels like it’s been a long time in development, the chief says the software development kit is now available and that “applications are in development.”
The AR market is a potentially lucrative area for the firm. Juniper Research predicts revenues will hit $11.5 million (€8.3 million) this year, and continue climbing to hit $213.3 million by end 2013. However, the market is tipped to really take off in 2014, when Juniper expects revenues to leap to $732.2 million.
While Jacobs also talked up the potential of cloud computing to connect products including white goods and TV sets – a strategy he brands The Internet of Everything - he noted that a lot of work still needs to be done to enable his vision. In particular the rollout of femtocells and other technologies that boost Internet coverage – particularly in rural areas.
Those technologies will be key to achieving Qualcomm’s vision for new services including mobile healthcare, given Jacobs expects much of the future growth in demand for mobile services to come from emerging markets.