Though Nokia was horribly late to join the touchscreen phone game, along with all its gesture-based UI goodness, it looks like its design team really has some novel ideas about enhancing the way we'll interact with its phones without having to use buttons.
Interesting stuff--it's a far cry from the shake-to-shuffle iPod tracks or the flip-over to hang up features we're getting used to with some of our existing accelerometer-equipped smartphones. Particular kudos goes to the idea of kissing your phone to contact a loved one--ably demonstrated by Younghee in Nokia's slightly cheesy clip. Developing a phone that could actually sense that kind of complex interaction would be a different and possibly quite tricky matter, but that's a task for the engineers to tackle once Nokia figures out exactly how users want the gestures to work.
And that set us thinking...what kind of physical gestures would you like to see on a next-gen smartphone, and what applications would they connect to?
Here's my tuppence-worth of thought on the matter.
Snap the phone away to snap a photo. This seems to be the only practical way to make a phonecam take a pic without having to hit a button, and the definite gesture could feed directly into an anti-blur digital correction system.
Cover the touchscreen with your palm to engage silent mode. What better way to shush your cell than an analog gesture to clapping your hand over its mouth?
Wiggling the phone in a circle to rewind a video. Touchscreen controls for steering your way through a clip are undoubtedly better than pressing a physical key, but a subtle gesture like this one would give you a quick and easy way to do the same thing more intuitively.
Clearly there's a whole lot of scope for way more sophisticated interactions with a phone's software than these three--hit up the comments if you can think of some good ones.