Are you old enough to remember the DOS operating system? Users had to enter commands in text form. It seems so primitive now. But I predict a return to text interfaces, this time on your smartphone.

I love my smartphone but I find it annoying to hunt for the right app icon to do a simple task such as send a message or make a note to myself. I want a Smartphone with a Preloader interface, a term I just invented. It's a blank box and keyboard for data entry that is always your first screen. Instead of first specifying which application you want to use, such as messaging, email, phone, etc., you simply use a simple text code and start working. For example, if you want to send an email to Bob, you type into the empty box:
e bob about borrowed lawnmower

Hi Bob,

Please return my lawnmower. Have a nice day.

Your smartphone would recognize "e bob" to be a shortcut for "email the guy named Bob in my address book." The subject line would be whatever followed "about" on the same line.

When you're done typing your message, click "submit" and it brings up your email app populated with your message and Bob's email address, or options for selecting which Bob you want. If everything looks good, you press Send.

The main idea here is that you should be able to start doing your work before you choose the app. The content of the message will tell your smartphone which app you intend.

Some one-letter text commands for the preloader might include:

E = email

T= text

N = note

C = calendar

W = weather

P = phone

V = voicemail

If you want to enter an appointment in your calendar, just type "c staff meeting 9am Tuesday Aug 26 alert 1 hour". Your calendar app will pop up and you can confirm it entered the appointment correctly.

Do you want the hourly weather forecast for Baltimore? Just type "w Baltimore hour" into your preloader. It's much faster than opening the app first, looking for the box to enter the city then clicking the hourly option.

The way my brain is wired I always want to jump right into a task before I hunt for an app. I often accidently choose my text messaging icon instead of email, cancel the texting app, open email, choose the addressee box, type addressee, choose subject, and so on. The process feels inefficient and it bugs me every time. I want to start working immediately, while a thought is fresh in my mind. Only after I have done my work do I want the phone to deduce which app I intended.

Voice recognition apps already do this sort of thing. But 80% of the time that I use my phone I'm someplace where speaking aloud would be awkward or unwise. I want a text interface to speed things up.

Does that already exist?

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Aug 13, 2012
So you want a command line interface (for convience) for a phone that you have to leave plugged in all the time (for power) and all its data is stored on the cloud (someone's mainframe)?

So what que*r petition shall be thine fancy to engage in next, thou backwards troglodyte? Shall we dareth to speaketh in the olden tongue of Shakespeare perchance?
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 13, 2012
>>> How would you handle command conflicts?

er, let em fihgt and kill each other! ;-)
Aug 13, 2012
Scott's next prediction: Bringing back a form of media that looks and plays exactly like 8 tracks for [insert reason here]... More likely than a DOS type interface, I would assume that gesture recognition, eye tracking, and brain wave monitoring will be the future for the interface to any computer between 2014-2030.
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 13, 2012
DOS Box is a dos emulator, which seems to be made more for the gaming enviornment.
***Easier to use, could probably do what you want but probably not designed to work as you described.

Android Terminal Emulator seems to give you command line control of your android system.
***Don't really know what it's for except the screenshots show command line usage and the author seems kind of like the usual MORDAC with this on the FAQ:

"A terminal emulator is a program that makes your Android phone act like an old fashioned computer terminal. It is useful for accessing the Linux command line shell that is built into every Android phone. This lets you run various Linux command line utilities.

***If you don't know what all that means, and why it's cool, then this probably isn't the program for you. (Sorry!)*** [asterix added for emphasis]"

BUSYBOX seems to allow you to port UNIX/LINUX commands to your android phone as well as coming with a list of commands already set up.
***Probably the most helpul documentation wise but seems more for the programmer.

I don't think that any of these would be as simple as what you suggest but they do seem to have some the features that you wanted.

Perhaps you should look at getting some developers together to make an easy command line emulator for phones. There is probably a market for it especially if it has a tiered level of usage with basic users using it for what you describe, more advanced users being able to create their own custom commands, and programmers to update the source code etc.
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 13, 2012
The late, great WebOS from HP (née Palm) has something a little like this, called "Just Type." I start typing "Scott" and up pops your contact, and from there I'm a tap away from calling, texting, or emailing you.

Of course, a lot of good that does anybody, since HP punted on the phone business.
Aug 13, 2012
I haven't made use of it yet, but I understand that Google Now does this to a certain extent, via text entry or voice commands on Android devices. I'm sure it's probably not robust enough yet to do everything you'd want, but it's a step in that direction.
Aug 13, 2012
Of course, I'd be happy with a phone that provides a decent keyboard - still holding on to my Blackberry Curve until someone comes up with something better.
Aug 13, 2012
Hi Scott - my brain works the same way - but many people don't, and would easily forget (or just not deal with) any alphabetic shortcuts. But it would be a nice option to add. you could even take it a step further if you always email bob, eb = email bob, etc.
Aug 13, 2012
Your life might change quite a bit if you enter "Kill the Pigs" and it launches your Twitter app instead of Angry Birds.
Aug 13, 2012
I can't believe that the obscenity filter obscured c i r c u m s t a n c e s
Aug 13, 2012
Ahhhh - the lure of technology means you can't tell the wood from the trees.

You're a rich man Scott, why don't you do what used to be the normal thing in these !$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%* an assistant to do all the crap you hate doing.
Kind of like Siri but makes coffee too.

Always remember the old adage....

Life is a !$%* sandwich - the more bread you have, the less !$%* you have to eat.
Aug 13, 2012
Those one-letter text commands will get interesting in other languages. Also, who owns setting which command does which function? I'd guess the OS itself, but can users add commands? What about installed apps? How would you handle command conflicts?
Aug 13, 2012
That's one of the things I like about Google Chrome--it figures out whether I'm looking for a specific website or trying to search based on what I type.
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