Sony unveils "floating interface" touchless display

Could this be the next step to true ‘hands free’ capability with Sony’s unique gesture control technology feature?

The Japanese electronics giant Sony has unveiled a smartphone that allows the users to browse the web by hovering a finger above the links. This is described as a “floating touch” user-interface.

The Xperia Sola handset is due to be on sale in the second half of 2012 but there is already controversy if this will catch on.

There are a number of firms that have been exploring gesture control possibilities with giants such as Apple, Microsoft, US chip maker Qualcomms well as small start ups developing camera-based touchless technology. The aim is to allow users to perform tasks using gestures such as snapping fingers, clapping in order to answer the phone, navigate the web and flicking through photos.

How is Sony’s feature unique?

A user’s finger will essentially act as a mouse cursor, highlighting a link. Once selected, it can be activated it with a single tap.

Calum MacDougall of Sony Mobile Communications called the phone’s technology “a sense of magic”.

Prepaid Card Vendor Green Dot Acquires LBS App Loopt for $43.4M

Location-based social network Loopt, has been acquired last week for $43.4 million in cash by Green Dot, a U.S. provider of prepaid Mastercard and Visa cards.  Created in 2005, Loopt has truly been the pioneer in location-based social app. The goal of this acquisition is to offer Green Dot a fully assembled team to pursue its mobile strategy in mobile wallets, rewards and payment solutions for retailers.

Loopt’s current headquarters in Mountain View, California will become the new Silicon Valley hub for Green Dot’s mobile technology and product development team.

Technology and Intellectual Property

Loopt had developed a lot of technologies. Loopt has been also a provider of hosted wireless location infrastructure to some North American telcos, including U.S. Cellular Loopt has worked with U.S. Cellular on various location experiences for its customers, including mapping and geo-location apps.In its press release Green Dot also mentions Loopt intellectual property:

Loopt holds several patents that are applicable to mobile marketing in the context of location-based messaging delivered real-time to a mobile handset. Green Dot believes that these patents will be important strategic assets as it pursues its mobile business opportunities.”

Automating Android Life with NFC tags

Near Field Communication technology has been a reality for some time now and is only now starting to find a strong base in the mobile phone area. Google has invested in the technology and is included NFC in both the Nexus and Galaxy Nexus. This has been primarily to support features such as file-sharing with Android Beam and contactless payments for Google Wallet.

The Xperia S comes with a set of key-ring style Smart Tags, allowing to ingeniously allow you to alter the status of your NFC-packing phone simply by swiping it over the top. The following video is a handy kind to show how this technology works without purchasing the new Xperia S.

The main proviso is the Andoid handset has NFC capability. The unit shown in the video is the Galaxy Nexus and will work with older Nexus S.

 How does is work?

NFC is a wireless protocol allowing data to be passed between two devices. The NFC tags require no power to function and are therefore passive. The tag takes a small amount of power from the NFC device thus enabling the tag to transfer data over a short distance.

When an active device, such as the phone, ‘touches the Tag, the information stored in it is transferred to the phone. This could be any where from line of text, contact information to even an instruction performing a certain activity.

Making Sense of Location Based Services