It’s in the air

I can feel it out there, boiling, out past the horizon but still gathering strength: the inevitable fusion of travel guides, high-style lifestyle journalism, locative media, and the ubiquitous mobile device. (Probably, if someone clever is behind it, all packaged in a bespoke, branded handset with an immaculate UI.)

Take what wallpaper* used to be, what modo tried to be, what Gridskipper can’t seem to become no matter how hard it tries, what Superfuture was for a moment (and still could be, if only it was updated with some frequency) – an ultrahip, tightly-curated guide to experiencing the world’s great cities. Furnish it with real-time locational information, collaborative-filtering and light social-networking functionality. And push it to people at the time and place they need it most. How can this not be a high-demand, high-margin proposition?

In fact, it seems like such a gimme, such self-evidently low-hanging fruit, that I wouldn’t be at all surprised if someone or -ones is already putting together an effort along these lines. That’s certainly what Tyler Brûlé was alluding to at Aula in June, and I can’t imagine anyone better positioned to put together the necessary pieces.

All the necessary pieces, that is, but UI. Doing good content experience for mobile devices is so very difficult, in fact, that I haven’t seen anyone get it quite right yet. And that means that there is still an opportunity in this space, just waiting for someone to come along who combines the technical ability to devise (or specify) an appropriate interface with the aesthetic sense to understand just what this market segment demands.

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