Friday, February 15, 2008

A mobile world: SL on the move?

Today I came across this youTube video and article on TechDigest:

No, your eyes aren't kidding you. That really is the processor-shredding Second Life virtual world running on an iPhone. But how? And why is it so slow? Well, the answer is that it's a concept demo produced by mobile technology firm

In a layman's nutshell, all the processing is being done NOT on the iPhone, on a central server. All that's being streamed to the iPhone is the visuals - essentially, a video feed of the Second Life environment. Then, when you tap the
on-screen buttons to move, or type in a message, that's sent back up to the server for processing.

So, it's not a Second Life client on the iPhone - it's just streaming Safari-friendly video of your SL session, with you able to send your commands back in the other direction. That's why it's this sluggish at the moment, because you're one step removed.

Second Life is too resource-consuming to go mobile right now. Especially its streaming technology requires quite a lot of bandwidth to render the simulation you're in. For the time being this is a nice gimmick to show your friends, but not of any real use.

But the virtual worlds will get on the move sooner or later. For the virtual workspace to have an impact on our busy lives they will have to go mobile. It will require lighter interfaces and more bandwidth on mobile phones, but we'll get there. Why?

Well, I'm on my way to a meeting, and I'm stuck in a traffic jam. I'll be missing this important meeting. Time to pull over and log into our virtual world and do this meeting there...

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