The work will be carried out at the Intel Nokia Joint Innovation Center, which also involves the University of Oulu. Two dozen research and development staff will work on the project.
Initially the group will be tasked with creating “new and compelling mobile user experiences that could leverage the rapidly increasing capabilities of mobile devices.” That’s going to be based on making interfaces that more closely resemble real-world interactions, which appears to boil down to 3D.
One feature Intel is already talking about is the idea of using hologram-like displays to carry out video calling in a 3D format. (Given that the first adult sex chat services have recently launched for the iPhone FaceTime system, it’s not hard to imagine more voluptuous service providers being attracted by such a technology.)
Another theory being discussed by bloggers is that the center might explore the idea of three-dimensional menu screens. There’s some logic to the idea that this could give users a better sense of control: after all, existing touchscreen menu systems are certainly a lot more intuitive than cycling through options with push buttons. The problem is how you take the display technology and incorporate it onto devices where the user controls are inherently two-dimensional.
Nokia has also told Reuters it will be looking into the idea of creating a virtual display of a home in an application that allows users to control heating, lighting and power from a smartphone. That sounds worryingly close to gimmickry to me: does anyone really need a phone display to tell them how different their home will look with the lights dimmed?