Smartphone of the not-too-distant future, your personal assistant

Features like Google Now and other location-based apps are ushering us into the era of the super smartphone. Couple that functionality with the ability to learn what each user does with the phone and a new dawn of usefulness is nigh.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor on
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The alarm gently wakes you as it does every morning with a song from your music collection. Not just any song, it keeps track of what you listen to and varies the morning wakeup song every day. This forgotten tune from the past sets a nostalgic tone for the day.

The coffee has been programmed to be ready when you amble into the kitchen, phone in hand. While the brew drips into your cup, your smartphone presents your email inbox in the order that benefits you best based on your past interactions. You glance through the messages and quickly zoom in to the handful that really matter.

Sipping your coffee your phone presents to you the four news stories that it knows you want to see based on your past interest. Tapping on one brings the full story to the screen, and in a few minutes you are informed enough to start your day in earnest.

Heading out for the day the phone presents your schedule on an easy-to-digest screen. Seeing what's in store allows you to get your head around what's coming.

Walking down the street your phone presents the public transit schedules and routes for the nearest stops that will get you to your office. Sitting on the bus your phone pops up the most recent email thread dealing with the subject of your first meeting in the office. You step into the office already briefed on the project to be covered in the meeting.

Later in the morning your phone notifies you that based on current traffic conditions you better head out to the client meeting across town to make it on time. You leave for the meeting and once again the transit schedules are presented to make sure you get there with the least fuss.

On the train to the meeting your phone pops up the latest proposal you sent to the client and you review the proposal en route. You walk into the client's office fully briefed on the upcoming discussion.

The meeting goes well and lunch time is approaching. You have planned to take the client to lunch someplace nearby, and your phone steps in as expected and recommends three restaurants close-by. It indicates that this client once mentioned in an email that he really likes selection #2.

You suggest this spot to the client who is obviously impressed you know the area and remember that he likes that particular place.

Lunch went well and as nice as the visit progresses with the client your phone notifies you it's time to head out to your next meeting. You schedule a future meeting with the current client and easily enter it into the phone's schedule as pertinent fields are already filled in with the current client's information.

You head out after shaking hands and leave for the rest of your day. Everything goes wonderfully, with your phone chiming in with helpful information when needed without distracting you unnecessarily.

Back in your office late in the day you get a text message from your brother stating his flight has been slightly delayed but he'll be in at 7pm. His arrival is on your calendar so your phone offers to move it for you which you approve.

The phone also reminds you that your brother once mentioned in an email that he wanted to try that new steak place the next time he was in town. It asks if you want to make a reservation for 8:30 given his arrival time and expected travel time to the restaurant. You approve it and the phone makes the reservation via text message.

The evening with your brother goes swimmingly, a pleasant end to a nice day. As the time to go home approaches, your phone pops up an offer to call you a cab. You tap your OK and continue clowning around with your brother.

Soon you head home and at day's end you pop the phone into the dock on the night stand. It's served you well today and stands in the dock charging to be ready to wake you tomorrow.

This is not far-fetched as Google Now and other location-based apps are doing bits of this already. Some people don't want their phone "watching" them and that's OK. Me, I want my phone to provide as much assistance to me as possible. I'm all for my phone learning how to do that by my actions over time. I'm ready for my smartphone to get me.


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