I remember the N95. Nokia never said anything about the accelerometer sensor that had been silently built into every N95 sold, it was quite nice when the sensor was discovered and suddenly a new feature had been added without buying anything. Anyway, I bring up the N95 because it was amazing how sensors such as the accelerometer and GPS, two brand new experiences for smartphone users, could make our phones more aware and somehow more human. I remember apps that changed my profiles depending on where I was, and switching to landscape mode by just turning the phone. Good times.
Now Nokia is looking forward to the next chapter. They are launching a Challenge together with Prize X that promotes the creation of next-generation sensors. Nokia seems to be mostly interested in the health sector; possibly looking for sensors that help people prevent or control conditions like diabetes, asthma, allergies, and obesity. It would be really nice if smartphones could detect early signs of a heart attack and alert an emergency service of the user’s position. Or maybe alert the user to leave a building because there’s smoke in the air or other dangerous contaminants. Well, 2.25 million dollars will certainly motivate innovation. Here’s the challenge’s website: http://nokiasensingxchallenge.org/