Hardware is the Final Word
While software can do some pretty crazy stuff, the capabilities of a device are fundamentally limited by their hardware. The hardware can improve in a couple ways: the data rate can get faster, coverage can get broader, the battery can last longer, and we can introduce fundamentally new sources of information. The last is the most interesting and revolutionary. From the end of Paul's essay comes the validation of that idea:
It has turned out to be a great thing that Apple tablets have accelerometers in them. Developers have used the accelerometer in ways Apple could never have imagined.
Personal Data Hubs
Mobile phones accompany us almost everywhere we go, and I believe that in the next decade they will become hubs for a host of sensors and other devices in our clothes, bags, glasses... Every new sensor added to this growing hub will create a miniature revolution in our daily lives.
What if you could track your heart rate, levels of glucose, leptin, hormones, temperature, blood pressure... all from a bracelet, that communicated via bluetooth to your phone and a web service, providing you with instant and constant health information. There are all sorts of cool things you could do with that! It would certainly create some changes in the health care industry.
Sensors, sensors, sensors, sensors...
The future is in more sensors. It will lead to context-aware helper-devices. We will call it a HALper... or maybe a halp. It will be awesome.