I was thinking today about mobile phone profiles, how lame the are, and how great they could be. My Blackberry has some sort of profiles, but they are little more than glorified volume settings. I think my previous phone, the T-mo Wing (Windows mobile) had some thing it called profiles, which had to do with how a few things were set during certain circumstances, such as when the bluetooth headset is active.
But I came up with two improvements I’d like to see implemented in a decent handset.
First, profiles should touch all aspects of the phone’s functionality. The phone’s themes, ringtones, desktop image, convenience key definitions, applications, files, email accounts, etc should all be tied to the profile. Hell, maybe even the phone number. Modern handsets are powerful enough that nobody should need to carry two phones (one personal and one for work.) When you’re in the office your phone should be on the At Work theme. It would have a subtle ringtone, a boring desktop image, spreadsheets would sit on the desktop, it would be connected to your office exchange server, and it would be associated with the phone number everyone in your office has.
Your At Home theme can have the steel drums ringtone, a desktop image someone took at spring break, access to your gmail account and all of its associated features, the Facebook app, your collection of Girls With Low Self Esteem videos, your personal phone number and sms inbox. In the background it still has your spreadsheets from work and it’s still connected to the exchange server. But that’s all been pushed behind the features and apps you’re more likely to use on your own time.
And second this switching should happen automatically. There are a lot of ways to do this. For example, the phone can switch to the At Work profile if it sees the office wi-fi network. It doesn’t have to connect to it, it just needs to see it. Then when you pull in to your driveway and it sees the your home network it can switch to At Home. Or, you can have 3 profile – At Work, which is active if it can see your office wi-fi network, Personal if it can’t see your office or home wi-fi (you’re out and about) and At home, for when it sees the home network. In the At Home profile it also takes over your home telephone number. Or it could do all of that based on my GPS location (you define regions on a map to use different profiles) or your location based on cell tower triangulation. Another thing I thought about using Bluetooth or a connection to a service like Google Latitude, so for example if your phone could recognize you’re within 35 feet of your boss it switches you to At Work, even if you’re on the beach. Also, it would stay in the At Work profile if you were away from office but at lunch with co-workers (unless you overrode this because you’re just out bowling.)