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Published: Friday October 18, 2013 MYT 4:18:00 PM
Updated: Friday October 18, 2013 MYT 4:31:40 PM

The future of mobile is contextual awareness and no contracts: Google

SMARTER AND SMARTER: The Moto X handset has a number of contextually aware features built in. — ©AFP/Relaxnews 2013

SMARTER AND SMARTER: The Moto X handset has a number of contextually aware features built in. — ©AFP/Relaxnews 2013

Smartphones are set to get even smarter and network carriers are going to have to reconsider their current network plans as consumers start to shun subsidised handsets and long-term contracts. 

Speaking at the GigaOM Mobilize conference, Google Ventures general partner Rich Miner stressed that despite what many commentators are saying, there is still a lot of innovation to come in the smartphone space and that the key to new features will be context. 

"Let's talk about knowledge and context: the fact that I'm moving, the fact that I'm in a meeting, that I'm talking to you," Miner explained.  

"There's a huge layer of information in that context which could be used to make those devices and applications smarter ... knowing your calendar, knowing who you call, knowing which restaurant you're in, knowing who you're with. I still think there's a lot of innovation still to be made even at the platform level." 

Google has already invested heavily in contextual awareness — its Google Now system understands where a consumer is, his or her preferences and has access to schedules so that it can automatically push information to a smartphone or tablet, such as traffic news, the sports results and special deals at restaurants in the local vicinity. 

This contextual awareness extends to knowing when a user is at the cinema or an airport boarding gate and displaying a digital ticket or boarding pass on a device's screen.  

And although Google Now is an opt-in service on Android and a stand alone app for iPhone users, the Moto X — the first handset built by Motorola since it was taken over by Google — has a number of these contextually aware features baked in. The handset knows when the user is in a car and is always listening to respond to voice commands. 

During his talk, Miner suggested that this contextual awareness will migrate from smartphones and tablets to other smart and connected devices, and that he believes the role of network carriers is set to change as more consumers look to buy unsubsidised, contract-free handsets. — ©AFP/Relaxnews 2013 

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