Korean phone maker Pantech is incorporating gesture recognition in its latest product release, suggesting movement control may be the next must-have smartphone feature.
Pantech advertises its innovative gesture-sensitive interface as useful when driving, wearing gloves or, as shown in a promotional YouTube video, when a user’s hands are covered with batter. Users can simply wave or flick their fingers at the Vega LTE phone to answer calls, play music and perform other tasks.
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The Korean company uses technology from Israel-based eyeSight Mobile Technologies to give its upcoming line phones gesture-recognition capabilities. The line of Vega LTE Android phones is expected to hit the market this month.
Pantech is not the only company developing gesture recognition, however. Mobile chipmaker Qualcomm bought a stake in GestureTek earlier this year, paving the way for incorporating movement-based technologies into its mobile processors.
As more companies embed gesture recognition in devices and operating systems, movement control may become a standard feature on more mobile devices.
Pantech’s gesture-recognition technology is also similar to Microsoft’s Kinect, which is available as an add-on to the Xbox gaming system. Microsoft also used Israeli-based startups, PrimeSense and 3DV Systems, in combination with in-house talent to develop Kinect.
Kinect is one of many forward-looking technologies Microsoft has put energy into of late, including mobile interfaces allowing people to drag projects between devices, project usable touch screens onto any surface, and manipulate 3-D holograms via a touch screen.
Microsoft is also reportedly incorporating gesture recognition capability in its next Windows OS release, showing that controlling multiple devices with a flick of the wrist may not be so far off, and companies like Microsoft and Pantech may find itself at the forefront of an emerging trend.
The new technology is the latest in a long line of innovations incorporated into smartphones, including hands-free calling, SMS messaging, touch screens and voice recognition like that found in some Android devices and the iPhone 4S. Many of these advances once seemed futuristic, but quickly became a familiar part of everyday mobile use.
Pantech, previously known for low-end Android and messaging phones, likely hopes gesture-recognition technology will also give the company an entry into the high-end smartphone market.