By Max Cohen, Staff Writer
Even going as far back as the Blackberry, smartphone design has remained relatively constant. The last great smartphone change was the touchscreen, or rather, the perfection of the touch screen, thanks to Apple.
Lately, there has been overall stagnation in smartphone development. Sure, 4G changed smartphone use and better cameras/processors/operating-systems allow more preferential customization, but aside from internal differences, smart-phones are, more or less, interchangeable.
However (there’s always a however) the market could be rapidly altered with LG’s synthesis of a bendable, unbreakable plastic screen, which is the first step to actual curved screen technology. Still squealing like a school girl? Me too.
Curved screens have already been put to use in the HDTV market by LG and Samsung; however, these top-of-the-line models run a cool $9,000-$10,000 making them far too expensive for the average consumer.
According to a USA Today article, Sony has recently introduced a $4,000 curved TV, though the technology is still too high-tech to allow heavy application in the TV world. While the applications of curved televisions are limited to immersion and size, the applications of curved smartphones are endless.
In the few short months since LG’s invention, Samsung, in a Christian Science Monitor article, announced the South Korean exclusive Galaxy Round which has a curved, ergonomically-friendly shape.
Additionally, LG is supposedly unveiling a curved smartphone that curves top to bottom for only God knows why. While these “innovations” may seem trivial, we must consider future applications for true flexible screens.
Imagine a bracelet that can unbend and act as a phone. Like a snap bracelet with a pulse. This could be the next leap forward after smart-watches don’t sell at all. And after that? Google Glass (the wearable glasses-computer hybrid) could be boiled down into a computing contact lens. Sunglasses-computers could exist on a commercial scale.
But the market shouldn’t change anytime soon. Curved phones are interesting, but they’ll only sell because they’re a novelty. But then developers will actually begin making real-world applications for the curved screens. And then Apple will curve something, and everyone ages 12 to 27 will have a stroke and the market will change permanently.
That is when we’ll see the really futuristic uses. Because, we’ve just about hit the technological apex for flat screen innovation. You heard it here first, curved glass is the future.
By Heather Goldin, Staff Writer
On Jan. 15, Mark Zuckerberg announced a new feature that goes far beyond the introduction of a Timeline or Newsfeed. The new feature, Graph Search, is a potential rival for competitors such as Google or even the typical online dating site such as eHarmony or Match.com.
Graph Search gives the user the option of sorting through pictures, places, people, and other interests. Graph Search also specializes in the ability to search with natural language, or a style that people use in everyday conversation. Examples include phrases like “the best coffee houses in downtown Boston” or “people in my city who enjoy rollerblading.” As if this new feature didn’t sound interesting enough, phrases such as “single men from California who attend Boston University” can also be searched, resulting in a long list of Facebook users who fit the search parameters.
Crazy? Yes. Creepy? Possibly. I think it could be used like a free version of online dating without the long sign-ups and required information. Facebook doesn’t need that information because you already put it on your Timeline.
Online dating is popular, which makes Zuckerberg’s interest understandable despite his statements from the founding of Facebook that the site would avoid being branded as an online dating site. It would definitely be a way to keep Facebook users online longer and away from other sites. More Facebook time is what Zuckerberg needs from users with the lack of growth in adding friends recently. The Facebook Team hopes that with Graph Search, users will be more drawn to adding friends faster, a necessary variable of Facebook’s functionality.
For now, the Graph Search is not yet a threat to other search engines, since it’s still in its beginning stages. Currently, the possibilities of Graph Search are extremely limited and only available in English. In addition, Facebook is the only site Graph Search uses to function, which limits its resources as a search engine. Since it uses user’s “likes” to provide answers for searches, it might not be up to date. Users are bound to have liked something in the past that they no longer like, or to keep activities that they no longer participate in posted on their timeline.
On one hand, Facebook’s new feature appears harmless to bigger sites, but if the loyal users of Facebook jump on board with the new feature they will soon be spending more time on Facebook to update those outdated interests and likes. When Graph Search finally makes its debut, maybe think twice about allowing Graph Search to have access to your data. If you do, remember to update your likes. Otherwise you might end up with a friend request based on a common interest in that band you liked in middle school.