Read this during my visit to Ars Technica.
I don't know what I think about adding the kinds of availability designations (Available/Connect, Away, N/A, etc.) that IM clients like ICQ afford to the cell phones and personal communication gadgets of the future. That seems to be the kind of thing that Motorola and others are up to, however. This NYT piece on "presence awareness" technology talks about the advantages and possible disadvantages of eliminating phone tag:
Many software developers predict that presence technology will become almost as ubiquitous as communication devices themselves. In six months, Motorola officials say, the company will roll out a system that will allow a caller to tell whether another person's mobile phone is on and whether it is in use. Nokia and Ericsson, among several other telecommunications companies, are also developing the technology, for use in either land-line or wireless phones.
Presence technology is also being considered for hand-held computers, wireless Web pads, communications systems in cars, and even exercise machines that provide Internet access at the gym. Some systems, the officials say, will go as far as using tracking systems like the Global Positioning System, or G.P.S., to detect the location of a person who is logged in. The prospect of information that can reveal a person's availability at a given moment, anywhere in the world strikes many people as both creepy and intriguing.
View: New York Times