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The Weekly Round-Up: Dream phones, iPad 2 ballyhoo and cyborg brains

Brits reveal their ideal smartphone, Apple steals the show and imagine a world where cyborgs rule...
Written by The Round-Up, Contributor

Brits reveal their ideal smartphone, Apple steals the show and imagine a world where cyborgs rule...

We dearly love our smartphones but the Round-Up's sure we'd all like to make a few small changes to make our devices a little smarter or indeed a little 'dreamier'.

Despite the constant scramble of innovation, there are still a few features missing from our smartphones that would transform them into our dream phones - but what could they possibly be?

Thankfully, a survey by a mobile phone comparison site has asked some people some questions and those people have provided some answers. So here we go!

The top answer is unlimited battery life, something everyone wishes they had. In second place is guaranteed signal strength - again, a basic expectation for a phone but a pipe dream for those who live outside a big town, at the top of a tall building or underground. Or in south London.

What else? TV capability (already available on some phones) and dictation texting, which would lead to the entertaining sight and sound of people talking text-speak to their phones. And how exactly do you pronounce 'LMAO' or 'BFF'?

The GoodMobilePhones.co.uk study clearly surveyed British people, as some answers show up our nation’s crushing sense of social embarrassment.

For example, a feature that warns the user they're talking too loud is next on the smartphone wishlist. The trouble with that is the sort of people who talk too loud on trains are the sort of people who wouldn’t ever switch on that sort of functionality.

It was also suggested that the phone could feature a public transport sensor to detect the environs of a bus and prevent music from being played loudly. Again, the same issue applies here.

The Round-Up reckons that in both cases what is really needed is some sort of clever remote-control application that, in the case of over-loud music, can turn down the level of nasty, tinny pop coming out of the handset; or, in the case of over-loud voices, apply some kind of Darth Vader throat choke to silence the high-volume blatherer.

Back in the real world, another rather clever addition requested was a built-in breathalyser to prevent you from making drunken calls or sending foolish texts that you'll only regret in the morning.

Then again, realising the next morning that you’ve texted your boss and told them exactly what you think of them is usually accompanied by a massive adrenaline boost which, if nothing else, does help with the hangover.

Also on the list: an anti-theft alarm to warn owners if the device is stolen, presumably which shouts "Help! Get the Rozzers!" in the event of theft; a function to help users find lost handsets; and a feature that generates a spontaneous fake phone call to avoid certain people. The Round-Up's sure there are already apps for most of those things. If there aren't, there should be.

With so many competing handsets, operators and developers flooding the market, the Round-Up has little doubt that some of these features will make it onto handsets at some point. But if there are some other must-have apps we haven't mentioned, drop us a line and let us know.

Of course, when we asked the CIO Jury recently what feature they'd like to see on a smartphone, they responded wearily that the ability to make phone calls reliably would be lovely.

Fat chance...


Apple iPad - so last week

Unless you've just got back from a nice relaxing holiday on the dark side of the Moon, or under a particularly big rock, you'll probably know a new iPad was unveiled earlier this week.

But have you seen silicon.com's exclusive launch day photos? Check out all of our iPad 2 coverage and read the analysts' reactions.


Twitter in surround sound

Imagine being able to sense friends' and colleagues' thoughts and feelings almost as they experience them. A world where everyone has technologies built into their brain that capture their sensations and stream them to other people around the world.

This is the World Wide Mind - a concept explored in a new book of the same name by science writer Michael Chorost.

It might sound far-fetched but technologies combining genetic engineering and neural networks could soon be capturing your neural activity and wirelessly streaming the resulting terabytes of data to the wider world.

While the ability to share your thoughts might be attractive to some, what's to stop the electronic egoists of the internet from turning it into a surround-sound Twitter, with the most banal of thoughts being broadcast live to the minds of people around you?

It's already tedious enough to read a tweet that says "eating a flapjack", so imagine having that injected straight into your head, in full colour, with the flapjack flavours and the sensation of having a bit stuck in one of your back teeth? This is one technology advance the Round-Up might just opt out of.

Elsewhere on silicon.com this week: check out our exclusive photos from CeBIT in Hannover, featuring some experimental screens and slates from Asus, among other things, and see how Microsoft is using its Kinect hardware and the computer-vision technology therein to push beyond the boundaries of gaming.


And finally...

Want to know more about cloud computing and what it means for you? silicon.com is hosting an event to discuss what cloud computing means for the future of the IT department and how you can harness this latest technology revolution to the benefit of your business. Find out what the experts think, including a panel of leading CIOs, and share your own thoughts at this networking and discussion event.

This silicon.com speakeasy event is taking place on Thursday 31 March 2011, 6.15pm for a 6.30pm start. It is being held at the belowzero restaurant + lounge, Mayfair, London, and is sponsored by Microsoft. This event is free to attend. If you would like to come, please register your interest here as spaces are limited.

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