I have temporary possession of the new Palm Tungsten T3 PDA, and very nice it is too. It certainly livens up tube journeys, not so much because of the games and MP3 capabilities but through its integrated Bluetooth. Set it up for device discovery, and over the course of a half-hour trip you can get a good sampling of what all those early adopters are actually carrying. Most Bluetooth devices default to the product name and most people don't change this – so I can tell that Nokias are by far the most popular choice with 6310 at the top of the list followed by 7650s. A couple of T610s and a solitary P900 (ooh!) show up too.
It's more fun when people do personalise the device name. The temptation to stand up in a crowded tube and shout "Richard Jones? Richard Jones! We have the results! From the clinic!" when his name pops up on the screen is almost irresistable. Of course, you can't help but wonder who's scanning your pocket: I predict a big surge in network monitoring and diagnostic software.
It also can't be long before some smart games software company includes the ability for PDA and phone owners to advertise their willingness to play over the air. That hour-long commute will go a lot faster if you switch on your Palm and find that somewhere on the train, Igor the Bloodstained is up for a quick deathmatch. Or that Bombshell is up for a swifty after work. In fact, what we need is a standard XML schema for advertising all the things one might want to communicate to passers-by, together with a selection of actions the passer-by might wish to take if sufficiently intrigued.
It'll get really interesting with the next generation of wireless personal networks and the promised LAN of hundreds of megabits. "I have the latest Distillers CD. I want Burt Bacharach." The RIAA will have to buy detector vans...