Merged web interface redux...
If you follow my list of blog ideas, you might remember a posting over a year ago that suggested that the primary UI for the handset should be a search box. This would combine on-device with off-device results and allow the search strings to be interpreted as both potential content searches or commands (e.g. lower volume). Also, I suggested that the results would populate in real-time, just like Google Suggest.
I'm glad to see that a company Zi Corp has implemented a similar idea, which they call Qix and which I picked up on Scott Weiss' usability blog. According to Zi Corp's study of the service running for Virgin Mobile, it improved revenue, which quite rightly it should if implemented well.
Now, this app is an installable app on the handset, which it needs to be to access certain on-device functions. However, in the not too-distant future, it will be a web app, courtesy of the richer UI possibilities on the horizon. Moreover, those off-device results could be driven by a registry of services in the network, allowing a seamless introduction of new services without changing handset firmware etc...so the theory goes (and is actually quite plausible).
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