The Mobile World Congress always brings out a flurry of ideas for new phones. Some are good, some are bad, and some are remarkably bad. So we’ll lead with the good. Fujitsu has developed a phone which uses fingerprint technology to secure personal and corporate data on your phone. No, it’s not quite a retina scan, but it reads below the skin’s surface to a layer which contains the “true” fingerprint. So you won’t have to worry about those shrewd criminals who place copies of your fingerprints over theirs. As we grow into a more mobile society, we’re going to see a lot more being done through our phones. We’ve already seen some mobile banking applications launch. And then there are mobile boarding passes, mobile coupons, mobile movie tickets…the list goes on, and will only get longer. So there is certainly a need to protect your device against theft…or against your own forgetful self when you lose it. There are already 14 phone models developed by Fujitsy which have this technology embedded. But Japan uses a different cell system than the rest of the world — much in the way that North America uses CDMA technology. The new fingerprinting technology will carry over to GSM and 3G networks. Now, onto the terrible one. Indian provider Spice Mobile — which would be horribly confused for something else if it was an American company — has developed a built-in disc player for mobile phones. No, it won’t be for a full-sized CD or DVD, but a mini 1.2 inch one. So why is this so terrible? Because we don’t need the physical product anymore! We have microSD cards. They hold up to 4 gigabyte. These optical discs hold one gigabyte per layer, and currently there is only one layer. You can wipe a microSD and put new stuff on it. You cannot wipe these optical discs, as you cannot wipe a DVD. Dagan Packman, director of content format and security for Vmedia, explains:
“Packaged media is very dominant both because it’s a simple technology, and because it is inexpensive,” he said.
You know what is also simple technology? Digital media. Oh, and charging $15 for your tiny optical disc is not inexpensive. It’s a burden, and it’s wasteful. We’re clamoring for the day when a package-less media product costs us less. We do not need another physical medium at this point. VMedia is looking to bring this to the U.S., but I hope they have a difficult time doing so. It seems like a tacky novelty, a throwback. “Ooh, I can play DVDs on my phone!” screams the eager trendy teen, minutes before she tosses the disk in the corner of the room, never to be used again. [Information Week] [PC Magazine]