in Mobile Phones

Accelerometer Madness

After accelerometer technology made its appearance to the masses it seems that every mobile phone manufacturer is rushing to put the very same bit of hardware in their mobile phones.Nokia S60 Inclinometer Application

There a lot of applications that can make use of the accelerometer to increase the usability of the products or services and there also some very funny applications that are delivered to end users.

  • We have already talked in the past about these funny things:
  • You can use your accelerometer as a mouse.
  • You can snooze your mobile phone alarm clock by simply shaking it.
  • You can read sms messages by simply moving your phone.
  • You can silent an incoming call by tapping the phone.
  • … and a lot of other different things.

According to my opinion we are going to make an excessive use of this technology.

Just to be clear I am convinced of the fact the mobile phone usability can be really improved by this technology but I also think that it should be used in savvy way.

A simple example. Some of the new SonyEricsson handsets have preloaded a very designed java game called Need For Speed Pro Street. It a great game, indeed. If you want you can use the mobile accelerometer to drive you car. Well, I found out that turning the mobile phone too much on the right or left handside makes completely hide the display making your game experience quite frustrating. I see two different problems here. The first one is the fact the typical LCD display can viewed clearly up to a certain angle and the second is the fact that the accelerometer sensibility may be too low.

To be fair with SonyEricsson I have to say that I was trying this on an engineering sample and the real user experience may greatly differ from commercial devices.

Anyway it is quite clear that when dealing with this technology you need to carefully evaluate the user experience before launching any product or service on the market.

One last word about those mobile phones that will let you run application in background. If these applications will make use of the accelerometer they will need to implement different “gestures” to interact with the users. No standard exists at all and this may lead to a very bad user experience making the end user think that anything is working on their handsets.

Finally, do you remember the early times of bluetooth headset when you could see people walking around talking to themselves? We all thought that they were sort of crazy people. Using the accelerometer technology we will see the very same people dancing with their mobile phone to answer a call or read an SMS message.

Note: Photos from Piutus phostream. Someright rights reserved from the author.