How Smart Watches and Phablets Fulfill a 20-Year-Old Prophecy about Ubiquitous Computing

Views - MIT Technology Review 2013-03-28


Mark Weiser, who coined the term “ubiquitous computing,” foresaw current device trends decades ago.

“Tabs, pads, and boards.” The phrase may sound like a piece of techno-buzzy cud coughed up at a TEDx or SXSW talk, but it’s actually a precise description of current hardware trends made 22 years ago by a chief scientist at Xerox PARC. That scientist, the late Mark Weiser, was talking about his then-new concept of “ubiquitous computing”: the idea that cheap connectivity and networked devices would liberate “computing” from mainframes and desktop boxes and integrate it into people’s everyday lives. But how? What would that actually look like? Weiser sketched out three basic tiers of ubiquitous computing devices based on interactive display technology: tabs (small, wearable); pads (handheld, mobile); boards (large, fixed). 


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Date tagged:

03/28/2013, 15:36

Date published:

03/18/2013, 13:51