by Christopher Lindquist

Web Beginnging to Work on Cell Phones

Jun 15, 20042 mins

Cell phones and the Web. The two work together fitfully at best? with users forced to view stripped-down versions of full webpages and apps, or be stuck typing away at clumsy physical or touchscreen keyboards. But Finnish firm MyOrigo says it has better things in mind, thanks to a quartet of technologies that collectively create the “MyDevice” phone that could find its way into the U.S. market in the near future.

The company’s Motion Control tool lets devices automatically switch from a portrait to a landscape view of screen data. The My Book User Interface lets users flip through virtual “pages” of information by running a finger across the touchscreen. And the touchscreen has its own innovations; its Touch and Feel feature offers tactile feedback (in the form of small vibrations), providing a more typing-conducive experience than standard touchscreens. Finally, the Mirroring feature lets users scroll around a page using tilting hand movements instead of scroll bars or directional buttons.

“All the user interfaces that we have now in mobile phones, their backgrounds are in the late ’60s and early ’70s,” says J-P Metsavainio, company founder. “Originally those user interfaces were designed for static workstations.” The new tools, he says, create a “dynamic way to use dynamic devices.”

Metsavainio also claims that the interface tools could let service providers offer increasingly complicated applications, as the user interface on a MyOrigo-outfitted phone would provide less of a barrier to usage. And cost, he notes, shouldn’t be an obstacle to finding partners. The MyOrigo system is “4 percent hardware and 96 percent software,” he claims, with the hardware being readily available. As a result, MyOrigo systems need not be vastly more expensive than traditional cell phones.

The key, of course, is getting phone companies to buy into the technology. MyOrigo has at least one deal with a major manufacturer, though Metsavainio could not release the name. He did note, however, that phones based on the technology will ship in Europe later this year. The company is also looking for partners to license the technology in the United States.