Mobile Apps: Breaking Out of the Pocket

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Things are getting really interesting in the mobile development field.

Five years ago when you talked about application development you were most likely targeting web browsers, desktop computers, game platforms or very limited phone OS’s. On each of those platforms the vast majority of the input was via the user’s fingertips — text, buttons and joysticks.

Today’s devices obviously offer so much more. Touch, GPS, compasses, accelerometers, and proximity detection to name just a few previously unavailable input modes. This has made possible a raft of new types of applications (and I’m not talking about iFart).

Earlier in the year BunsenTech launched a pretty cool iPhone app aimed at the hardcore revhead called Dynolicious. The app uses iPhone’s hardware to track 0-60 acceleration, lateral G force, braking G’s and horsepower amongst other things.

Nifty stuff.

However, now an electric super bike has taken things a step further.

It’s perhaps impressive enough that the very slick-looking MotoCzysz E1pc runs at +120mph on three electric motors with zero emissions.

MotoCzysz E1pc

However, the real kicker for us developers is it uses an iPhone as it’s standard dashboard instrumentation — a bike with a data plan.

There are all sorts of reasons that I think this is super clever.

  • Building custom high-tech sensors and screens into a bike is expensive and requires years of testing to perfect. Having them already built-in to a phone that many developers already understand intimately should make development simpler and cheaper. This should be reflected on the ticket price, too.
  • The dashboard becomes easily upgradeable and can evolve as MotoCzysz improve and refine it.
  • Inevitably geeks, hackers and fans will hack their own dashboards and often come up with stuff way cooler than the default dashboard. You’ve got the possibility of a whole subculture of dashboard hackers evolving.
  • I assume you clip the phone out when you leave, so it could easily becomes the equivalent of a key/security device for the bike. In fact, why have a key?

MotoCzyszCould we be seeing the beginning of the iPhone (and other advanced mobile devices) becoming part of the default interface/input device for other devices — anything from scooters to ride-on mowers to ski boats to ultralight aircraft?

It sounds like a really interesting niche.

Alex WalkerAlex Walker
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Alex has been doing cruel and unusual things to CSS since 2001. He is the lead front-end design and dev for SitePoint and one-time SitePoint's Design and UX editor with over 150+ newsletter written. Co-author of The Principles of Beautiful Web Design. Now Alex is involved in the planning, development, production, and marketing of a huge range of printed and online products and references. He has designed over 60+ of SitePoint's book covers.

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