A Mobile Dude… no wait two Mobile Dudes

Will.i.am: he's a Mobile dude

Will.i.am: le Dude de Mobile

Below are some extracts from a Will.i.am interview with Contagious magazine (04/09 issue 21), he’s discussing the evolution of mobile content… this has been the most interesting chat around Mobile I’ve heard in ages:

“Apps are just games! People are looking at mobile as a miniature way of doing the stuff you used to do on bigger things. It’s not a PlayStation, it’s a phone, and we’re only at the beginning of understanding how stuff works on mobile.

Apple are just exhausting every app they can. App is not short for application – it’s short for Apple. And it’s not just about hammering every possible angle. It’s about long term ways of engagement and inspiration, and developing the next generation of technology, not an updated version of the current system.

Mobile’s coming up super fast now. There’s a little bit of going round in circles, but what it’s missing is someone with some imagination to step in from outside tech. Everything’s made by tech people, which is great, but the artist hasn’t been put into the equation yet. The people who invented the trumpet did it for the orchestra. They didn’t see Miles Davis coming to create jazz fusion, followed by funk, and then hip-hop and now here we are.”

“The next step is to create properties and tastemakers who can influence culture using mobile and internet… creating the content in a way that amplifies mobile and the internet. Not the same old 2D stuff which keeps landing us back where we are.”

If songs and records are 2D spaces, mobile is a 4D space. Why not create content in four dimentions, in a specifically designed player, so that you need the software and the player in order to see, hear and experience the content? Four-dimensional content comes from songwriters, scriptwriters, and code writers working together to see what they can do to change what you think content is.

It’s like we’re so busy staring at our hands, and thinking that’s the end. We’re not looking to the arms, and the elbows, and the shoulders, and so on, to creating something that can walk and talk.”


Which reminds me of a quote from my placement manager in ye [very] olde Rocking Frog days… perhaps we’d have more exciting innovation if we focussed on genuine human needs, creativity and usability, rather than cramming more and more features into packaging which hasn’t actually evolved much since the 1980s (in general devices have got smaller, but it’s not the leap that Science Fiction had hoped for).

Anyway, a huge thanks to Matt Polaine for his feedback below:

“Ambient devices is still an untapped communication mode. Over ten years ago I looked at tiny multi-colour LEDs on the inside edge of stylish sunglasses that could only be seen in the user’s periphery vision. With just these I could navigate the user, provide message notifications, and proximity to events or services that matched the user profile. It was so simple.

However simple is too often marketed or perceived as less, thus we end up with ‘bloatware’. More and more so-called ‘functionality’ is being marketed as added value. The success of the iPods is mainly down to the simplicity of the design and the UI – there isn’t much of it.

For greater innovation in personal mobile devices we need to de-couple the marketing of more=better value. Products need to be far simpler to set up, integrate with networks, and operate. If my 7 year old son or 70 year old mother can’t use it, it’s not innovative UI. Never before has Less equalled More.”