Web Tool of the Future: Your Phone

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By 2020, the mobile phone will be the primary connection tool to the Internet and it will be so integrated into our daily lives that it will be difficult to imagine what life was like without one, according to new research by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. In addition, respondents thought voice recognition and touch user-interfaces with the Internet will be more prevalent and accepted by 2020.

Among the 1,196 survey participants were 578 leading Internet activists, builders and commentators. Those surveyed responded to various scenarios of how the future would pan out. An overwhelming majority of participants (more than 75 percent) said by 2020, the mobile phone will be the primary connection tool for most people in the world, and that the device would have substantial computing power. However, relatively few participants saw the technology as a means to promote harmony among mankind. Slightly more than 30 percent agreed with the statement, "Social tolerance [in 2020] has advanced significantly due in great part to the Internet."

The survey encouraged expert-participant commentary.

"The mobile phone is just beginning to touch our digital lives. As these relatively inexpensive devices continue to improve in performance and connectivity, they will serve more as a "remote control" to many of our electronic touch points, such as: purchasing retail items through scanning, serving as an electronic passport, turning on our cars/GPS systems, translating text to talk and video conferencing with our friends through our online accounts," noted survey participant Drew Diskin, director of e-strategy, Johns Hopkins Medicine. "As we improve visual projection and "plugging-in" to larger display systems -- mobile phones can serve as the old laptop we once knew and lugged."

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