Nokia has always held the line that the reason their top-end N-series has yet to see any sign of a touch-based interface was because they were simply waiting to "do it the right way." (The company's first all-touch device, the 5800, was made official only a few months ago).All's fair there, but when I asked Nokia's Chief Designer Alastair Curtis this week in New York what exactly the "right way" entails for Nokia's more internationally focused phones, the answer was, of course, "wait and see!" What did come up indirectly, though, was mention of gesture control for mobile phones—something a recent Nokia patent seems to indicate as well. The patent, filed in January of this year, shows that Nokia has been cooking up something gesture related for quite some time. The patent calls for an ultrasonic-based system for divining where your fingers were pointing at the screen, and to also detect basic gestures like opening and closing your hand to control a web browser (similar to gesture based interfaces in PCs). While this seems like an incredibly roundabout way to go about something that seems far more natural via touch, especially on a mobile device, I guess I'll reserve final judgment for when I'm surfing the web via jazz hands on a new N-series piece, should that day ever come. [Patent Application]
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Actually, what they fail to take into account is viewing angle. Where my fingers are in relation to my view isn't depicted in the drawing. There had better be some screen-visible feedback, too.