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Phone Boost

Futuristic features will make tomorrow's mobile phones smarter.

This story appears in the June 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The mobile phone of the future knows when it's in a briefcase, it knows to turn on automatically when you pick it up, and it even knows by your fingerprints that you are its owner. While this future phone won't be available in your local store tomorrow, it's getting closer and closer. What's the secret to these sci-fi-worthy features? Tiny sensors that detect everything from temperature to light levels.

Microsoft, for example, is researching and working on instilling sensing abilities in mobile devices so they react when held in certain ways. Possibilities include the device changing screen orientation depending on the way it's held, scrolling when tilted, or recognizing whether it's dark or light out.

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