app stores Archive

Should the Android platform be exclusively dependent on the Google Play app store for software?

USB-C connector on Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus smartphone

A question that is appearing for Android users is whether software developers can sell software independently of Google Play

Over the last few months, Epic Games released their Android port of Fortnite in a manner that is very unusual for a mobile-platform app. Here, they released this port of the hit game as an APK software package file that is downloaded from their Website and installed on the user’s Android device as if you are installing a program on a regular Windows or MacOS computer. This allows them to maintain control over the sale of game additions and similar merchandise without having to pay Google a cut of their turnover. Or it could allow them to maintain control over the software’s availability such as issue beta or pre-release versions of software or simply offer high-demanding software like action games to devices known to perform at their best with the software.

The Android platform has a default setting of disallowing software installations unless they come from the Google Play Store or the device manufacturer’s app store. This is a software-security setting to prevent the installation of software that has questionable intent on your Android device. But the “regular” computer platforms have implemented other approaches to allow secure installation of software thanks to their heritage of being able to install software delivered on package media or from download resources like the software developer’s Website or a download site. It also caters towards the role that regular computers play in the course of business computing where line-of-business software is being installed on these systems by value-added resellers and solutions providers.

This question will become more real as the Android platform is taken beyond mobile devices and towards the smart TV like with NVIDIA Shield or recent Sony smart TVs. It could also appeal towards other “smart devices” like network printers that are based on the Android software codebase where there is a desire to add functionality through an app store.

Recent efforts that Microsoft, Apple and the open-source community have taken to protect our regular computers against include software-authenticity certification, least-privilege execution, sandboxing and integrated malware detection. In some cases, there is the ability for users to remove software-authenticity certificates from their regular computer in case questionable software was deployed as highlighted with the Lenovo Superfish incident.

Similarly, these operating system vendors and many third parties have developed endpoint-security software to protect these computers against malware and other security threats.

Google even introduced the Google Play Protect software to the Android platform to offer the same kind of “installed malware” detection that Windows Defender offers for the Windows platform and Xprotect offers on the MacOS platform. Samsung even implements Knox as an endpoint-protection program on their Android devices.

Android does maintain its own app store in the form of the Google Play Store but allows device manufacturers and, in some cases, mobile-phone service providers to create their own app store, payment infrastructure and similar arrangements. But it is difficult for a third-party software developer to supply apps independent of these app stores including creating their own app store. This is more so for app developers who want to sell their software or engage in further commerce like selling in-game microcurrency without having to pay Google or others a cut of the proceeds for the privilege of using that storefront.

Android users can install apps from other sources but they have to go in to their phone’s settings and enable the “install unknown apps” or a similar option for them to install apps from sources other than the Google Play Store or their OEM’s / carrier’s app store.

What could be done for the Android platform could be to support authenticated software deployment that uses the same techniques as Microsoft and Apple with their desktop and server operating systems. It can also be augmented with the creation of authenticated app-stores to allow software developers, mobile carriers, business solutions providers and the like to implement their own app stores on the Android platform. The authentication platform would also require the ability for end-users to remove trusted-developer certificates or for certificate authorities to revoke these certificates.

It could allow for someone like, for example, Valve or GOG to operate a “Steam-like” storefront which is focused towards gaming. Or an app developer like Microsoft could use their own storefront to sell their own software like the Office desktop-productivity suite. Then there are people courting the business segment who want to offer a hand-curated collection of business-focused apps including line-of-business software.

But there would have to be some industry-level oversight regarding certified apps and app stores to make it hard for questionable software to be delivered to the Android ecosystem, This also would include app stores having to make sure that their payment mechanisms aren’t a breeding ground for fraud in its various forms.

There will be the common question that will crop up regarding alternative app stores and developer-controlled or third-party-controlled app-level certification is the ability to purvey apps that have socially-questionable purposes like gambling or pornography. Here, the Android ecosystem will have to have the ability to allow end-users to regulate the provenance of the software installed on these devices.

At least the Fortnite software-distribution conversation is raising questions about how software is delivered to the Android mobile-computing platform and whether this platform is really open-frame.

Send to Kindle

Two ways to put indie games on the map

Article

GOG Galaxy client app (Windows)

One of the indie games markets out there

Calling all indie developers in the US & Canada: sign up for the Google Play Indie Games Festival in San Francisco | Google Android Developers Blog

Google Play announces 2017 Indie Games Festival for US and Canadian developers | 9to5 Google

Jump aims to be “Netflix for indie games” while still benefiting developers | KitGuru

Previous coverage

Competition arises for the online games storefront

My Comments

An issue that may face a games developer who wants to work the independent path is how they can put the game on the map as far as the public is concerned. For some developers, the importance is about avoiding heading to the “Hollywood of electronic games” where computer games become very similar in quality to the Hollywood blockbuster movies or popular American network and cable TV shows which ends up with the same-old content amid questionable ethics.

Google Play Store

Google Play Store – a step towards the indie game market

One way would be to put the games on one or more platform-specific app stores like the iTunes App Store, Google Play or Microsoft Store. On the other hand, if the game is to be targeted at regular computers, it may be about offering the games to indie-focused software markets like GOG Galaxy or the upcoming Jump subscription-driven market.

The second option appeals to those who want to keep it purely without mainstream influence, as if it is like offering indie-music records through the inner-urban record stores and having it played on community radio stations or by venues visited by the target audience like the cool cafes. It may also include making the games downloadable through the developer’s own Website. But it may only appeal for Windows, Linux or Mac regular-computing platforms rather than mobile devices or consoles and set-top devices.

But Google has taken a process similar to a mainstream full-line music outlet running and promoting an “indie” genre. Here, they are running the “Indie Games Festival” in San Francisco to draw out indie games developers and have them offer the Android platform the best software they can provide. What I see of this is it is a way to stimulate the indie games market especially courting those developers that are writing for mobile platforms.

I even see the Microsoft Store in a better position to court the indie games developer who doesn’t mind going down the second path by encouraging them to develop games for the Windows platform and the XBox One console in a “write-once” approach. Here, they could take a similar approach to Google by running a dedicated festival for indie games developers who want to approach regular-computer and games-console platforms.

At the moment, when it comes to the games for the regular computer, being able to use a dedicated indie-game market or using an established games market like Microsoft Store, iTunes Mac App Store or Steam are the viable games options. But when it comes to targeting other devices like mobile devices, games consoles or set-top devices, the only way would be to use the platform-specific app stores and unless the platform encourages quality independent software development, these will be very limiting for the indie games developer.

There still needs to be interest in and support for the indie games market from many app stores and games markets so that electronic gaming is an environment for high-quality electronic games that appeal to all people.

Send to Kindle

Amazon chasing the numbers when it comes to Alexa’s Skills

Article

Amazon Echo on kitchen bench press photo courtesy of Amazon USA

Amazon needs to assure quality for the skills they offer to Echo users

Alexa is learning more new skills every day | Engadget

My Comments

At the moment, Amazon is adding many skills to the Alexa voice-activated home assistant ecosystem every day with at least 15,000 skills available for your Echo by the time this article is published. This is in contrast to Google offering 378 apps and Cortana offering 65 apps. Apple yet hasn’t shown up the number of skills or apps that they have added to Siri as part of her role as a voice-driven home assistant.

But the problem with this approach is that Amazon can easily end up “chasing the numbers” where they don’t care about software quality. This is very similar to what has happened with the app stores like Microsoft Store where these stores filled up with many poor-quality and, in some cases, worthless apps. Here it is seen as a quick way for Amazon to dominate the voice-driven home assistant landscape alongside offering the multiple devices and extra capabilities.

Amazon yet haven’t had much experience in building up a platform app store with a goal towards achieving a significant number of quality apps. This is compared to Google, Microsoft and Apple who have learnt by experience when it came to building up their platform app stores which Google Home, Cortana and Siri will be based on. In most cases, it was about leaving the gates wide open and admitting too much trash or “dribbling in” very little software and putting across an image of very little choice. It is symptomatic of a technology being at an immature state where much hasn’t been worked on to have the right mix of features and software.

As regards with the software quality of skills or apps for a voice-driven home assistant platform, there will be issues about preserving proper software behaviour, assuring proper taste and decency in a family environment, along with assuring end-users’ data-security and privacy. It is more so with the fact that these skills will be relating to smart-home devices and these devices can be used to represent a household’s lifestyle. This will need to be achieved through software and consumer-protection policies and a feedback loop between end-users and the platform developer.

Of course, there needs to be the ability for Amazon and co to highlight high-quality skills and apps to users such as through an “editor’s choice” or “product spotlight”, along with a user review and rating system.

Other issues yet to be raised include how a developer can monetise a skill, whether through having customers buy the skill through Amazon’s storefront or through an advertising platform. In the case of advertising, there will be issues regarding user privacy, the kind of advertising that appears along with when the ads appear in your interaction with that skill.

I would see the sign of maturity for the voice-driven home assistant technology as higher-quality skills or apps being available along with the platforms being offered in more territories on more devices with the expected feature sets.

Send to Kindle

The home-network gateway device to become advanced

D-Link Covr router and wireless extender package press image courtesy of D-Link

Expect a lot more out of the router that comes with your Internet service when Technicolor gets its way

The device that represents the network-Internet “edge” for your home network i.e. the router won’t just be serving that function in a standalone way anymore. Here, it will work in tandem with other Internet-side and network-side computing devices to become a highly-sophisticated “hub” for your home network.

One of these drivers is to provide a simplified customer-support process, especially for those of us who use carrier-provided equipment at the edge. Here, the support and provisioning process can be fulfilled by the router supplying information to your carrier or ISP regarding your Internet service’s and home network’s performance.without wasting time requiring the customer to supply this information during a support call. This may be considered controversial but has value regarding the support and troubleshooting process which can perplex those of us who aren’t competent with technology such as a lot of older people.

It also encompasses the fact that distributed Wi-Fi will be the “new norm” for the home network, whether through multiple access points connected to a wired or dedicated-wireless backbone, the use of one or more wireless range extenders or a mesh-driven distributed wireless network. Here, it may be about simplifying the process of commissioning the “satellite” wireless devices and making sure that they are performing as expected to assure maximum Wi-Fi coverage across your premises.

The other factor is for a call to provide for always-maintained software in these devices thanks to issues being raised regarding the security of our home networks and the Internet. It was underscored through the recent distributed denial-of-service attacks against various Internet services and blogs using the Mirai bot network that was running compromised software on routers, network cameras and the like which hosted poorly-maintained software to facilitate these attacks.

Let’s not forget that the home-network gateway device will be expected to do more in conjunction with cloud services. Here, they want to provide this kind of service in the same context as the “app-store” commonly associated with mobile computing platforms but increasingly associated with regular computing platforms, and an increasing number of dedicated-purpose devices like printers. It is where a customer can add on extra functionality to their home-network router after they have bought and installed that device rather than buying and installing a new device to achieve this goal.

I was learning about this thanks to a news release offered to me by Diego Gastaldi from Technicolor Connected home regarding this topic. Technicolor came in on this game thanks to buying in to Thomson who supplies a lot of the customer-premises equipment provisioned by telcos and ISPs for their broadband Internet service, especially the triple-play services. This company had presented at Mobile World Congress some of their new concepts for the home-network gateway devices that will be pitched to the likes of Telstra or Bouygues Télécom for their services along with how they can add that extra value.

This is in conjunction with Technicolor announcing their solutions for managed distributed Wi-Fi setups along with devices supporting wireline broadband and mobile wireless broadband on the Internet (WAN) side. The latter trend existed mainly with small-business equipment but its appeal for the home network is being underscored with the “quick-to-provide” goal for an interim wireless service before a wireline service is rolled out, a “fatter pipe” for broadband service by aggregating wireline and mobile broadband services; and always-available broadband for business, e-health / ageing-at-home and the smart home’s security.

The typical applications that will be called out would be to provide business-style “unified threat management” for the home network as a network security measure. Or they could be about joining a “community wireless” platform like Fon where they can share Wi-Fi bandwidth with guests or customers.

But they are also highlighting applications like monitoring elderly loved ones at home to be sure they are OK. Earlier on in 2010, I had a conversation with a representative from Ekahau regarding their Wi-Fi-based Real Time Location System in a residential or small-business environment. This was more so with their T301BD Wi-Fi Pager Tag, pitched primarily as a name tag with duress-alert abilities for healthcare and similar enterprise-level applications, being used as part of an “ageing at home” or similar home-based care scenario. Then I had noticed initial doubt about this kind of application in the home but such setups could be made real with distributed Wi-Fi and them being offered on a cloud-driven “as-a-service” model.

By using a multiple-computer “cloud” approach, there isn’t a requirement to overload a router device with extra processing circuitry which would require a large device to be designed. Typically this would be fulfilled by the use of one or more data centers connected to the Internet like the Amazon Web Services approach Technicolor are using. But, as the compact network-attached-storage maintains its appeal as an on-premises network storage hub with most of these devices offering “remote access” or “personal cloud” functionality, this kind of “cloud” approach could encompass these devices along with other “function-specific” hubs like smart meters or security systems.

But what is happening is that there will be more expectations out of the router device that sits between the home network and the Internet with it being a “gateway” to more online services.

Send to Kindle

The latest Apple TV becomes the first video peripheral to offer 360-degree videos

Article

You can now view interactive, 360-degree videos on the new Apple TV | Mashable

Video

From the horse’s mouth

Littlstar

Press Release

My Comments

Increasingly the 360-degree “virtual-tour” video is being seen as part of exhibiting a location or marketing a product. Even real-estate agents are using them as a tool to show off properties for sale, while TV serials are using them to give their fans a look-see in to the environments that the shows are set in.

But they are typically offered on Web pages that are best viewed in a browser with you moving your mouse up and down or dragging your finger up and down around a touchscreen or trackpad to pan around.  You may find that you zoom using your mouse’s thumbwheel or pinch in and out on a touchscreen or trackpad. Similarly navigating may require you to simply click or tap on where you want to go.

In some cases, they may also play properly with virtual-reality headsets of the Oculus Rift kind if you use an app for the device.

But what about viewing these 360-degree videos on that large-screeo TV or video projector. This may work if you throw that Web page on the large TV screen but you may not be lucky with some virtual-reality or 360-degree plugins working properly on the large screen.

Litlstar have tackled this issue through developing an app for the 4th-generation Apple TV set-top device that shows the 360-degree videos on the big screen. This exploits the Apple TV’s new remote control which has a trackpad by you using that trackpad to pan around.

This can be exploited on other smart-TV and video-peripheral platforms especially where some of these platforms are implementing gyroscopic remote controls or remote controls that implement multiple D-pads. Similarly, a games console of the XBox or PlayStation variety could be used as a tool to show the virtual-reality videos on a large screen.

It could also allow for one to watch some video content yet have an opportunity to “break off” in to a personal “walk-through” of that scene or building, yet be able to return to where they left off in the video content.

Who knows when Android TV or a subsequent Freebox décodeur will end up exploiting these abilities to enhance video content.

Send to Kindle

The Universal Windows platform gains momentum

Article

Windows 10 Start Menu

Windows 10’s Universal Windows platform now in place and allowing for an app to serve smartphones, tablets and regular computers

Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform might be gaining momentum | SuperSite For Windows

My Comments

With Windows 10 out in the field, Microsoft has been observing that the Windows 10 Universal Windows Platform has been gathering steam.

What has been valued about the Universal Windows Platform is that a single codebase exists for applications destined for the Windows 10 Desktop operating system on regular computers and larger tablets; the Windows 10 Mobile operating system on smartphones, phablets and small tablets; along with the XBox One games console which would be used as a set-top box for online entertainment.

Candy Crush Saga gameplay on Windows 10

Candy Crush Saga – an example of what can be done here

Microsoft has worked on some software-development tools to simplify the process of porting apps from other mobile platforms to the Universal Windows Platform. One of these was the Project Astoria which simplified the process of porting Android apps but this was put aside while the Project Islandwood which facilitates the porting of iOS (iPhone and iPad) apps gained more traction.

This showed up initially with the ability for you to play Candy Crush Saga on your Windows 10 computer or Windows mobile phone. But now Uber, TuneIn Radio and other apps have shown up in the Windows Store. TuneIn Radio would have the same benefit across the board as a way to have Internet radio play on your regular computer like I have done a few times with Windows 8.

The article saw no use for the Uber ride-booking client on a regular computer. But I see Uber and other journey-booking apps that are pitched to smartphone users being relevant also to regular-computer users including those of us using desktop computers. This is because of the ability to book your ride using your Windows-based regular computer rather than finding your smartphone to do the job. User classes that would benefit are business users booking transport for people like lone workers or valued customers; hotel concierges and others in the accommodation industry; people who use 2-in-1 computers; or householders who use the main family computer to organise transport for members of their household or their houseguests.

As well, I would see the likes of Instagram and Pinterest benefit from this treatment because one could upload a photo taken with their good camera and post it there. They can also implement Instagram’s filters to “treat” the picture before having it available for all and sundry to see.

The Windows 10 Universal Windows platform can make the idea of apps being relevant across all computing devices without the need to write versions of the software to target particular device classes.

Send to Kindle

Synology releases an app-based router

Article

Synology Formally Announces Its Wireless Router | SmallNetBuilder

From the horse’s mouth

Synology

RT1900ac Wi-Fi router

Press Release

Product Page

My Comments

Synology is best known for their range of highly-flexible network-attached-storage devices but they have taken their first steps in to releasing network hardware, especially routers.

The typical Synology NAS is based on the “Disk Station Manager” or DSM platform which, like QNAP’s QTS platform uses user-installable apps to add extra functionality to these devices. Here, you can deploy these programs from Synology’s Web site via the NAS’s Web interface for a device that suits your needs, with some allowing the NAS to be that “office in a box” server for a small business.

Now they have released the RT1900ac Wi-Fi router which is based on the Synology Router Manager platform, a router-specific derivative of the DSM platform. There is the similar user-friendly graphic interface for the router’s Web dashboard that would be experienced with a Synology or similar NAS. As well, users can downolad and deploy apps that extend the router’s functionality to something that would be akin to other small-business routers or, more likely, the Freebox Révolution.

This is compared to a few attempts that Linksys and others achieved at router platforms that extend these devices’ functionality. One of these was to provide a mobile-platform-centric operation which wouldn’t work well with a heterogenous desktop/laptop/mobile/server operating environment where there is a desire to manage the device from a Web browser.

One of these apps is a VPN endpoint server so that you could run the Synology as part of a client-box or box-box VPN. It can work using the common VPN protocols including OpenVPN. Anothers of these is a RADIUS server that would earn its keep with managing wireless hotspots or enterprise networks with user-based access control. Oh yeah, secondary storage needs are taken care of courtesy of an SD card and a USB port for you to connect a thumbdrive or USB hard disk to.

There are expectations that the app platform can bring on extra functionality to this router such as different application-level gateways, VoIP servers, public-access wireless hotspots and the like. As well, it would be interesting to find out if Synology writes functionality in to the router’s software and their NAS unit’s software to have these device work tightly together, as well as supplying different routers that suit different needs and budgets/

Send to Kindle

Microsoft sweeps out fake apps from the Windows Store

Article

Microsoft Purges 1500 Fake Apps From The Windows Store | Gizmodo

My Comments

As I have previously covered concerning software quality in app stores, the issue of app stores filling up with poor-quality software is being addressed. This time Microsoft has taken decisive action to remove the fake apps that were littering the Windows Store and reshaping the developers’ agreement to stop the creation of paid clone apps of established software.

But this kind of problem can beset any platform that creates a download site or electronic storefront for software and there needs to be an upper hand on the quality of the software that appear in these markets. Personally, I would still encourage people to rely on “word of mouth” or spotlighted apps as a way to gain value out of the app store. As well, people using feedback and reporting mechanisms can help with rebuilding quality in to an app store or download site.

Anyone who is building up an app-store for a product, whether it be a regular-computer or mobile-computer operating system or a “smart device” like a printer, NAS or smart TV should work out how to manage the app stores and download sites that they intend to run. They would need to:

  • provide a human-driven software curating arrangement especially to draw out well-written software that does the job properly
  • define policies concerning the software that exists such as intellectual property, software behaviour, taste and decency, end-user privacy and security, amongst similar issue
  • establish a feedback and reporting mechanism to allow customers to highlight good and bad software
  • define and maintain consumer-protection policies according to what is expected by any decent person to avoid end-users being ripped off. 

Once this is done, it could engender more respect in platform app stores and the ability for users to shape their experience as they see fit.

Send to Kindle

CableLabs have given their blessing for DLNA CVP-2 standards for premium-content delivery in the home

Article – From the horse’s mouth

CableLabs

DLNA CVP-2: Premium Content to Any Device in Any Room

My Comments

Sony PS3 games console

Consoles like these could be able to pick up pay TV from a DLNA CVP-2 gateway device

CableLabs have cemented their approval for the current iteration for DLNA Commercial Video Profile 2 to provide for improved in-home pay-TV setups using the home network. This leads effectively to an FCC goal that requires device-independence for cable-TV setups in the home rather than users being required to lease a set-top box for each TV in the home or install a “TV Everywhere” app provided by the cable company on each mobile device if they want cable TV on the extra screens.

What is DLNA CVP-2?

This is a super-standard defined by DLNA which uses a group of standards to assure pay-TV networks that their content is being delivered securely and surely to the display device via the home network. Here, the display device can be a Smart TV or video peripheral with “Connected TV” capabilities or software in a regular desktop / laptop computer or mobile device (tablet / smartphone) to show the TV content on the screen.

Sony BDP-S390 Blu-Ray Disc Player

.. as could these Blu-Ray players

It will typically require a so-called “gateway device” connected to the cable system, satellite dish and/or Internet service, such as a broadcast-LAN tuner, router with broadcast-LAN capabilities or a PVR in the customer’s home while display devices and software would have to authenticate over the home network with the standards that are part of the package. The PVR solution may typically be connected to the main TV set in the lounge or family room where most TV viewing is done while TVs installed in other rooms like the bedroom can use the home network to “pull down” live or recorded TV content using “smart-TV” abilities integrated in the set or a games console / Blu-ray player.

DLNA media directory provided by server PC

.. as could these Smart TVs

There is the use of DTCP-IP secure-content-delivery specifications for IP-based home networks to authenticate the access of content to cable-TV / content-studio / sports-league requirements. As well setups that implement DLNA CVP-2 implement RVU which provides the same kind of user interface expected when you use pay-TV services, which could facilitate things like access to video-on-demand and pay-per-view content, access to the service provider’s TV-hosted storefront and magazine, or ability to schedule PVR recordings.

Another benefit provided by DLNA CVP-2 is to support endpoints that implement a very-low-power standby mode and allow them to use wakeup and network-reservation mechanisms to allow the efficient-power modes to operate but provide for proper useability and serviceablility. This avoids service issues that are likely to happen if a device goes to an ultra-low-power quiescent mode when not needed and finds that it has to create a brand new connection to the network and its peers when it is needed.

Do I see this as a change for delivery of the multichannel pay-TV service?

One reality is that DLNA CVP-2, like other technologies affecting TV, won’t change the calibre of the content offered on pay-TV services. You will still end up with the same standard of content i.e. a lot of channels with nothing worth viewing.

But it will affect how a pay-TV company delivers services pitched towards a multiple-TV household. They could offer, either as part of the standard service, as part of an upsaleable premium service or as an optional item, a “multiple-TV” service. This would allow a person to have the pay-TV service appear on all suitably-equipped screens instead of paying for each TV to be equipped with a set-top box.

Similarly, the main device could change from an ordinary set-top box with PVR abilities to either one with the “gateway” abilities integrated in to it or a “headless” gateway device with broadcast-LAN and PVR abilities. In this case, the main TV would either be a suitably-equipped Smart TV or be connected to a video peripheral that has this kind of “connected TV” functionality built in. It could also change the focus of the value of the customer’s bill towards the content services rather than the customer-premises equipment.

For consumers, it could be a path for those of us who move between pay-TV or triple-play services whether due to moving location or moving to a better offer. This is because there isn’t the need to mess around with set-top boxes or create infrastructure for a pay-TV service that implements different methodologies.

Send to Kindle

A4WP and Bluetooth wireless-charging agreement

Article – From the horse’s mouth

Bluetooth SIG

Wireless, Wireless Everywhere

My Comments

Wireless charging for smartphones can become a point of innovation for smartphone and app developers

Wireless charging for smartphones can become a point of innovation for smartphone and app developers

The Association For Wireless Power have liaised with the Bluetooth SIG to integrate Bluetooth abilities in relationship to wireless charging of gadgets such as the typical smartphone.

This will lead to Bluettoth Device Profiles that relate to supply of power to gadgets in a similar manner to what is being achieved with USB when it became the preferred external power source for portable gadgets. Primarily this can lead to energy management as far as the device and charger are concerned

This can lead to the ability to prioritise the power supplied to multiple devices using the same charging point such as supplying more power to a tablet compared to a small smartphone. Or a smartphone could support a “quick wireless charge” option that a user can engage if they need the phone in a hurry and the charging point supplies more of the power to that phone while in that mode for the duration of the session.

What interests me further from the point of innovation would be the ability to have charging-point-specific functions. Obviously this may appeal to people who operate these points in public locations and want to make them pay or prevent a device “hogging” that charger.

But it can also open extra functions like, in a car, enabling quick Bluetooth connection to the vehicle’s infotainment system and setting up integrated operation with that infotainment setup. This can lead to where if you enable the infotainment system using the vehicle’s key, the phone will play the currently-playing music through the speakers or a call currently in progress continues through the handsfree subsystem.

In the home, a speaker dock or music system with the wireless charging surface can enable one to simply integrate the phone with that system just by placing it on that surface. Or a tablet or regular computer can be unlocked by you placing your phone near that device. This can extend to an improved software-security interface where a user session with a particular program or online service like Facebook on another computer is considered more trusted if they have the phone near that device.

This agreement is one where I see greater paths for innovation taking place where smartphones, wireless charging surfaces and apps can work as a system. But there needs to be support for a secure operating environment which prevents the installation of malware or access to untrusted Websites by implementing a level of user-controlled trust for device-app-charger relationships.

Send to Kindle