11. 03. 2005
Hitachi Waterscape PDA
Not a day goes by when I don't curse my Treo for being so...imperfect. Then I think about replacing it, but there's nothing out there that has everything I want in a single device yet. To get high-speed EVDO, GPS, a megapixel camera, and a QWERTY keyboard with a good PDA OS, I'd need at least three phones. In the near future, probably sometime in the middle of 2006, such a device will exist and I'll buy it, and I will be rapturously infatuated, and after a month or two, a little let down. I think perhaps I just expect too much. Even years down the line when my phone will be powered for hours on fuel cells, have some incredible input system (full-size but paper-thin keyboard maybe), and a thousand things I can't even imagine now, I will be cursing its numerous limitations. As everyone does with everything in life, but nothing seems to elicit as much irritation as a mobile phone that hasn't fulfilled a promised function.
I'm fascinated by Hitachi's concept PDA, the Waterscape which is deliberately very limited in functionality. It is completely buttonless, doesn't have a touch screen, or anything that requires any real precision. The screen, which looks like the answer window of a fortune telling 8-ball, responds to tilting and shaking. The interface consists of bubbles that open up new sounds and pictures or video when they're moved into the center of the screen. When you want to get back to the bubble menu, you shake the Waterscape like an Etch-a-sketch. Hitachi calls this a "passive, flowing interface". I love it. We so often can't control our devices, this one doesn't even pretend that you can.
Read the overview from the Hitachi Human Interaction Lab.
From Japan Today.