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« Mobile revealed | Main | Party like it's 1999: Part 1 »

No-one knows anything (including me)

By davebirch posted Feb 10 2006 at 5:30 PM

As everyone and his blogger has been pointing out, it's a decade since the treasured first edition of Bill Gates' “The Road Ahead” (which famously didn't mention the Internet) came out in 1995. Who can resist the childish fun of looking back at his predictions.

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Here's the one that caught my eye:

What do you carry on your person now? Probably at least keys, identification, money, and a watch. Quite possibly you also carry credit cards, a checkbook, traveller’s checks, an address book, an appointment book, a notepad, reading material, a camera, a pocket tape recorder, a cellular phone, a pager, concert tickets, a map, a compass, a calculator, an electronic entry card, photographs, and perhaps a loud whistle to summon help. You’ll be able to keep all these and more in another information appliance we call the Wallet PC.

...but everyone else calls the “phone”.

It will be about the same size as a wallet, which means you’ll be able to carry it in your pocket or purse. It will display messages and schedules and also let you read or send electronics mail and faxes, monitor weather and stock reports, and play both simple and sophisticated games. At a meeting you might take notes, check your appointments, browse information if you’re bored, or choose from amongst thousands of easy-to-call-up photos of your kids.

Who could disagree. But what was he smoking when he wrote this :)

Rather than holding paper currency, the new wallet will store unforgeable digital money...


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DoCoMo use the Sony Felica chip to support their payment capabilities and there are now several millions of those phones in Japan. There'll be a blog entry about this in the not-too-distant future.

He's not that far wrong about the money part. NTT DoCoMo has been shipping phones with payment capabilities for over a year now; they claim to have upwards of 1 million "digital wallets" out there. Not much public AFAIK on how it actually works...

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