A Blogging Phone

A Blogging Phone. Tong and I were riffing today about what a great blogging phone would be. My phone today is a crappy part of my blog lifestyle. I can painfully enter content thru the tripletap/tegic interface and i can painfully see my blog thru the wap browser. But it is all so painful that i never do it. There is work to be done on the input side, and the viewing side, and then on the phone/blog integration side.

Input: There are a couple aspects of current and future phones that are most important. One, the phone is a voice device. Let me call in and place audio content on my blog. Some people are playing around with audio blog content — for instance Audio Blogger — so lets yoke that to a phone so that I can call in from anywhere and place content on the blog. Speech Reco and autoconversion to text would be a bonus (if the reco quality is good enough to be useful). Two, we need to do work on the button set on the phone. One path is to add a keyboard ala the Handspring Treo. There may be another path with a more limited set of blog buttons — the fully customizable skin platform of Wildseed will help here. Certainly the button space dedicated to WAP today could be repurposed to better use. Finally, the wan has a lot of latency and intermittency, so let’s make sure the post model is fully async — that is one of the best features of the blackberry — it doesn’t try to force a sync model on an async network.

Output: I don’t want to see full web pages on my phone. The screen just doesn’t permit that. And the screen is always going to be small, until we have some future magic display technology that unrolls or displays full pages on my retina or something that I am not going to bet on in the medium term. So we need to tailor blog viewing to fit the small screen. Some people have toyed around with voice rendering of content — for instance Blogger, VoiceXML, and TellMe Studio. I think there may be some value there but let’s start more simply and just have an RSS reader/aggregator built into the phone. RSS does a great job of stripping off all the formatting fluff and letting me see the pithy summary, exactly what the phone needs. Maybe you combine this with voice rendering and voice render RSS headlines. But RSS is the start.

Phone/Blog integration. Many cool things to do here. Autopost my call history to my blog — the phone numbers and friendly names as I decide. Autopopulate my phonebook with my blogrollers if they publish a phone number. Autopopulate my blogroll with my phonebook. Obviously configure the RSS aggregator on the PC side. Push my call forwarding rules to my blog and let me edit them there. Publish my voice mail as audio blog items (at my wish). Have the idle screen on my phone display scrolling RSS updates. There may be some cool presence information we could integrate back into our blogs.

I’d love to know what others think we could do to create a great blogging phone. Or how people would use such a device if one existed. I’m going to encourage my friends at Wildseed to put some of these ideas into their product plans.