Context goes mobile

One of the hottest concepts in mobile right now is the idea of context.

The thought process goes something like this: because the modern smartphone comes equipped with all kinds of sensors, is always on, and tends to be touched by its owner quite frequently, mobile app developers have an opportunity to learn from all these implicit and explicit cues. Taken together, elements like location, time, velocity, behavior, etc. can begin to paint a picture of the exact context of the moment.

As a software developer, if you can establish context, you can do all kinds of cool things around delivering entertaining or useful content or functionality that will be appreciated by the user at that particular moment of time.

In a nutshell, this is the promise of mobile. You can provide experiences that were simply not possible when the desktop was the primary computing device.

The poster child example of this sort of interaction is called geofencing, and uses a location trigger.

While location as such already represents contextual information, the next step from geofencing is

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