Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on
 

Fear mobile technology? Look away now!

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • In 2014, blanket internet coverage will help us stay connected at all times
  • Shopping, working and socializing will all be impacted by mobile, says Miles
  • Kitchen surfaces will have the ability to charge electronic devices, he says
  • Wi-Fi perimeters will better enable parents to keep track of children, he predicts

Editor's note: Stuart Miles is the founder and CEO of Pocket-lint. He has been a technology journalist since 1998. He says he has played with virtually every gadget from digital cameras to smartphones and plenty in between.

(CNN) -- The alarm in my phone fires into life at 6.30 a.m. and jolts me from my sleep. The year is 2014 and I'm recovering from jet lag after flying back to London from New York, and the time difference has got to me -- again.

It's worse than usual because I didn't sleep on the plane. Too much work to do and as all transatlantic flights now have Wi-Fi, the urge to get stuff finished was overwhelming.

It should be a quiet day back in the office. I say office of course, but since we all successfully worked from home during the London Olympics, bosses now understand that people can be just as productive working from home or on the go.

That's helped by blanket internet coverage and better connectivity at home, on the train, and pretty much everywhere thanks to marriage of Wi-Fi hotspots and the 4G network that has been rolled out in the UK.

Read related: A future with fewer mobile apps?

App helps track missing pets
How Bump's unique sharing app works

I look down at my phone and its large Super AMOLED screen. It beeps a second time, this time with information about my day's itinerary, what the weather is like where I am, where I've got my meetings and some headlines from my favorite news sites curated and cross-polled against my social circles.

I hop out of bed, flick and swipe a command on my phone and the home music system kicks into gear, instantly playing in various rooms in the house. That will wake the kids up.

Read related: How mobiles of the future will get under our skin

Downstairs and breakfast is quickly under way. We're running short on milk, so I scan the carton with a shopping app on my phone. We've got until Friday before the order gets processed and sent out. Adding bits along the way is so much easier than traipsing around a supermarket.

I dump my phone on the kitchen counter and it starts charging. All the surfaces in our kitchen have the ability to give power to specific devices like the kettle, toaster, tablet or phone. It's good go grab the extra juice while I can.

In 2014, phone batteries are quicker to charge, but they still don't last that long. Wireless charging points help make a difference. If only Intel would get a move on and create a commercial version of the wireless power concept they showed off in 2008, devices might charge just by being in the same room!

Breakfast done I've got to head into London for some meetings. The phone goes in my pocket and off I go.

I get to the station and touch in through the barriers with my phone. We've come a long way from when phones displayed barcode boarding passes. Now the phone has replaced the Oyster card in London, using NFC technology embedded in the handset to confirm payments on the go.

Start-up, app aim to revamp the car wash
Where's my phone? App for that!

Read more: How technology makes us vulnerable

Inside the station I use my phone to buy a coffee. Papers are still around, but I don't really see the point -- it's so easy to get curated news from a vast number of sources around the world. The idea of reading news from one source -- a newsroom in east London and printed over 12 hours ago -- seems strange.

On the train I start watching a TV show I recorded on the Sky box last night but didn't have a chance to watch. I'm skipping the adverts.

An hour later I'm in another coffee shop about to start my first meeting. This place not only has free Wi-Fi, but also free wireless power charging spots. There used to be a time when free Wi-Fi was enough to lure me in; now I need power too.

Before my contact arrives I scan our last e-mail conversation. A quick swipe to the left and the phone's operating system not only retrieves all our messages, but a number of social elements too about my contact and her employer.

I discover the company she works for just announced it's laying off 3,000 workers. Could she be one of them, I wonder?

The meeting goes well. I've had access to all the relevant files I've needed. All pulled from the cloud on request, of course.

I have a laptop, but it rarely comes out. It's all tablet work these days, and when I do need to type something I've got a keyboard on the case. The desktop is so 2012.

Read related: Could mobile apps save local news?

One annoying meeting later, my phone chimes to tell me an old school friend is just around the corner. He has just checked into a local pub, so this is a great chance to see how he is.

I have no idea where the pub is so I launch the finder app on my phone. It's basically an augmented reality city app that quickly draws me a map and indicates the right direction to start walking. I don't want to be holding my phone in the air looking like a tourist.

A quick drink later and I've got one more meeting before heading back to the train station. The phone, knowing where I am, has automatically plotted the best route back, and instantly lets me know what the train times are. I need to hustle if I'm going to catch the one I want.

Back onboard the train and I finish watching the TV show from earlier. My phone recommends another based on what my friends have been watching. Better to start watching than listen to everyone else on the train chatting on their phones.

The train pulls into my station and 15 minutes later I walk into my house. The wife and family have gone to a friend's house so I've still got time to pick up where I left off. A quick swipe on my phone turns on the television and picks up the TV show where I left it. This time my phone doubles as the remote. Easy.

Read related: In AT&T's vision of the future, your home may be run by a tablet

My family returns. My phone knows that this is family time. While it still receives messages, e-mail and notifications, it doesn't actively alert me to the fact. You've got to switch off sometimes.

A couple of hours later and I am heading to bed. The phone beeps, breaking the silence. An alert has been triggered.

Daughter number two has just got home and on stepped into a wi-fi perimeter I created around my house, prompting her phone to text mine. She's back before we agreed. Peace of mind assured, I go to sleep, ready to do it all again tomorrow.

The opinions expressed in this post are solely those of Stuart Miles.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:47 AM EDT, Mon October 8, 2012
In the past 10 years we've seen cell phones transform into electronic Swiss army knives with a wild variety of functions and features.
updated 8:03 AM EDT, Tue October 9, 2012
If you're like Derek Smith, you spend a lot of time on your smartphone. Then again, maybe nobody is quite like Derek Smith.
updated 10:03 AM EDT, Sat October 6, 2012
I am part of a dying breed. I am among a quickly shrinking slice of Americans who have yet to step foot in smartphone land.
updated 6:24 PM EDT, Wed October 3, 2012
If you're looking for a harbinger of the zombie apocalypse, look no further than all those people on the street pecking at their tiny, handheld windows into a private world.
updated 3:15 PM EDT, Tue October 2, 2012
There are many ways to lose or ruin your smartphone. Forgetfulness, crime, gravity, anger, intoxication, acts of God.
updated 5:55 AM EDT, Fri September 28, 2012
A Sumo wrestler talks on a mobile phone
It is a device that three quarters of the world's inhabitants have access to, but the words to describe it and etiquette of how to use it differ starkly across cultures.
updated 12:21 PM EDT, Thu September 27, 2012
While about a quarter of adults in the United States suffer from some form of mental illness, most of them are not getting adequate treatment, if any.
updated 4:24 PM EDT, Wed September 26, 2012
There are millions of cell phone users in the United States. But one day last week, there was one less. Here's how comedian Dean Obeidallah survived it.
updated 4:20 PM EDT, Wed September 26, 2012
In a world where people are glued to their smartphones every minute of the day, what happened to observing the people and places around us? And what is it doing to our brains?
updated 9:09 AM EDT, Thu September 20, 2012
Physical therapists have a diagnosis for the headaches, neck cricks and achy shoulders affecting smartphone users, gamers and e-mailers. They call it "Text Neck."
updated 11:49 AM EDT, Wed September 19, 2012
Works of art photography aren't just for people with DSLR or film cameras anymore. Smartphones are helping create incredible art.
updated 11:39 AM EDT, Wed September 19, 2012
What if you found yourself stuck alone at a faraway airport -- with no money, credit cards or ID? Never fear, all you need is your phone.
updated 11:37 AM EDT, Tue September 18, 2012
China is on the verge of a smartphone revolution. For migrant populations, such technology has served to liberate workers, restructuring their social identity.
updated 2:02 PM EDT, Fri September 14, 2012
africa mobile phone boys
A little over a decade ago there were about 100,000 phone lines in Nigeria, mostly landlines run by the state-owned telecoms behemoth, NITEL. Today NITEL is dead, and Nigeria has close to 100 million mobile phone lines.
updated 10:39 AM EDT, Fri September 14, 2012
How does sleeping with your smartphone inches from reach affect your life? You might be surprised.
updated 12:17 PM EDT, Mon September 10, 2012
They've helped ignite the Arab Spring and given people better access to education and health care. How smartphones are changing the world.
updated 4:21 PM EDT, Thu September 20, 2012
From the Samsung Galaxy S III to the next iPhone, here's a look at some of the most popular new handsets.
Many parents complain that cellphones, computers and tablets are dividing families. But some experts disagree.
updated 10:26 AM EDT, Mon September 10, 2012
Ten years ago, I helped work on the next great revolution in digital media. It was going to be wireless. Only most people didn't know it then.
ADVERTISEMENT