Saturday, January 26, 2013

Do modern smartphones support magic?

Arthur C Clarke famously declared "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Modern SmartPhones are certainly close to passing this test.

I recently upgraded my phone from a Samsung S2 to a Samsung S3. I didn't upgrade for the new features (it should suffice to know that I also invested in a screen protector at the same time), but I am still excited to learn how far technology has advanced in the year or so since I bought my last phone.

The one feature which really amazed me is that if I open a contact record in my address book, I can call it without even pressing the "dial" button. All I need do is simply hold the phone up to my ear and it assumes that I want to call the contact on the screen. To be honest I don't know how it works, but I was just prompted to enable this feature when I first opened the address book. I assume the phone's accelerometer can detect the fact that I raised it up quickly before holding it still - but as Arthur said all those years ago, it is hard to be certain that magic is not involved.

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