back to article 2012: The year when smartphones become smart?

Today's smartphones look the part, but behind the pretty face there's very little in the way of intelligence. However, in 2012 that might start to change as smartphones start to get really smart... We call our handsets "smartphones" because they can do lots of things, but they only do these things when we ask them to – they're …


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  1. Tony W

    A dangerous thing?

    A little intelligence might be more dangerous than a little knowledge.

  2. ravenviz Silver badge


    Will they be smart enough to not send an email in the middle of ty#'

  3. Steve Button Silver badge

    I like the idea

    Perhaps we could have our phones act as a pedometer and count our number of steps each day? (assuming like me you carry the thing with you most of the day).

    It could also lock my PC as soon as I walk away from it.

    And make itself ring louder when I'm in the car. (and remind me to switch on the tomtom when I sit in the car, so I can pick up calls hands free).

    And it could monitor the actual temperature & humidity outside and make a good guess if I need to scrape the ice off my windscreen... and therefore wake me up 5 minutes earlier than normal.

    And it could monitor the traffic on my route to work, and warn me of delays (and again wake me up a bit earlier perhaps?)

    And it could tell me where to fill up the car, that's going to have the cheapest fuel on my route.

    And it could automatically remind me to bring my laptop home, as it's spotted in my calendar that I'm planning to work from home tomorrow.

    1. 27escape

      Well Tasker on android can do a bunch of the things that the author wants a smart phone to be able to do

      To get your PC to screenlock, there is a Mac app that will do this, though no idea what it is, for Linux use blueproximity

    2. ravenviz Silver badge

      This will make me so productive not having to think about all the minutae of life, I can spend more time on my device playing brain games to stop me going gaga.

    3. VaalDonkie

      Those things are all perfectly possible with existing technology.

    4. Pirate Dave Silver badge

      Already have most of that technology

      Most of us refer to the device that does all that as either "Wife" or "Dear"

    5. foxyshadis

      Most excellent!

      I could quit and subcontract my job out to my phone, with none the wiser, while I nip off for a quick thirst-slaker each morning.

  4. Richard Wharram
    Thumb Up


    It could check my Google history and if I've not been looking at anything saucy for a while send me a reminder to have some 'me-time' or make sure I keep a spare pair of pants by the bed, just in case.

    (posted by my smartphone which now anticipates all my thoughts for me and puts them on the internet.)

  5. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Down


    MS tried to insert intelligence in Word and now I spent half my time backing out its suggestions. Note to Word developers:When I delete the last paragraph in a section it does *not* mean that I want the next section heading to become body text. Nor for that matter do I appreciate you highlighting an entire sentence when I'm just trying to highlight a single word. Oh and a note to Windows:When I click on a text box I just want the cursor put there. Do not assume I want the entire line highlighted please.

    So no, leave me in control. I know what I want to do.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Agreed. I can't imagine why I'd want any of the "features" Ray mentions in the article.

  6. Anonymous Coward 15

    Open the pod bay doors, HAL.

    I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will they be smart enough to understand...

    "Why the fuck did you do that for you stupid piece of shit?"

    If so, I suggest the automatic response should be to disable any pretence at "smart". In fact, even better, they could just not bother with it in the first place.

    Google are you listening?

    What the fuck?! Where are my fucking results? Why isn't there, at least, an option saying, "Yes, when I type 'mirrorlink' that means that I want results with fucking 'mirrorlink' in them"?

    Ok, edit query to add a plus sing. Oh, no, I can't do that any more. Edit query again wrapping the fucking word in fucking quotes. Finally, meaningful results. Well that was quick, easy and intuitive. The only smarts around here are at Microsoft who know they don't have to improve Bing, they just have to wait for Google to disappear up its own arse.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It Looks As If...

      You are trying to use a search engine.

      Would you like some help with that?

      Annonymous --- because all paper clips are cowards!

  8. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Sirius Cybernetics anyone?

    "All the doors in this space ship have a happy and sunny disposition, it is their pleasure to open for you, and their satisfaction to close again with the knowledge of a job well done!"

    I do not want chatty doors, intelligent elevators, and a computer who will get "one hell of a kick out of any program you choose to run through it." I want my machines to do my bidding, and not guess what I want, and then do it without my say so. Smart phones should look smart, but not try to be too clever for their own good.

    I would rather have a chat with Marvin the Paranoid Android than have robots and computer like me.

    RIP Douglas Adams

    1. Captain Save-a-ho

      Second that

      No shit, I don't want "intelligence" in my phone or any other devices. From an OEM's perspective (including Google and Apple), they don't actually believe the bullshit they spout about the smart features being helpful. No, that's double bullshit, because they just want to track every last single, solitary movement of your life to better target you with advertising and to build up huge datastores of your life movements/choices so they can sell them off to advertisers.

      No fucking thanks. Want to provide something useful? Where's the NOSCRIPT for Android and iOS? That would be fucking useful and smart.

  9. Mage Silver badge

    not smart.

  10. Fihart

    "Smart" like the Word Paperclip.

    Autocomplete in browsers which seems reluctant to accept that I might want to address my router by its IP address.

    Printing "option" which assumes that I want a portrait shaped image rotated to best fit a landscape page.

    Computers ain't smart, they just do lots of dumb things quickly.

    I'd like them to do what they're told.

    1. Ben Tasker


      You used to be able to say "But the computer only does what you tell it too" (bugs aside), now I'm not even sure that's true.

      The one that pisses me off every time in word is if I'm writing a date (say in a letter head). I type

      06 January 2012

      But the second I hit return, the POS autocompletes for me so I get

      06 January 2012-01-06

      Yeah, cos that's what I want, really.

      I'm also beginning to get really pissed off with Chrome deciding something doesn't look like a URL and googling it instead. I then have to click the "did you mean http://blah/somefile" link.

  11. FunkyEric

    I for one welcome.....

    Our new tiny electronic overlords, and their continual stream of advice about how my life could be a more peaceful and happy place to be.

    Mine's the coat with the phone reminding me to do something I had forgotten, so probably don't care about that much anyway.

  12. Fishy


    Now we can all be phb.

  13. Sam 15

    Well, perhaps an OBE if you insist - nothing too ostentation you understand.

    Perhaps a truly intelligent phone wouldn't put white text over a (mostly) white background - like on the front page link to this article?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I'll settle for my iPhone remaining as thick as pigshit, if only it would allow me to make text selections in a way that doesn't make beating my own genitals with a croquet mallet seem a preferrable way to pass the time.

    I don't need a phone which tries to guess whether I want porrige or cornflakes for breakfast, based on my choice last time there was a full moon, a low pressure area blowing in from the North and I was wearing red underpants —I just want it to do the basic everyday stuff in the way that pains me the least.

  15. Magnus_Pym

    helpfully intelligent?

    or do they just want to find new ways to sell you stuff as always?

  16. Dave 15


    Nothing I saw posted here is intelligent, just a few rules easily put in place now - in fact some already are in different platforms.

  17. JDX Gold badge

    re:Those things are all perfectly possible with existing technology.

    But as SIRI shows, it's less about the technology _existing_ as it is about integrating it smoothly and polishing it up to be user-friendly.

  18. Glenn Charles

    about intelligence...

    Need to find intelligent users first.

  19. Chris Parsons

    Mechanical machines? What other sort are there?

  20. Paul 87

    I don't want "smart", I want reliable, non-instrusive and controllable technology. Why on earth would I want some developer sitting in an office on the other side of the Atlantic deciding what I really want to be doing now is waking up, because I woke up at this time three days running.

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