The video below, as corny as the dialogue may be, seemingly ripped right from an infomercial that plays late at night between a spot for the latest Girl Gone Wild DVD and a Snuggi you can use while at work, shows the potential of what a smartphone can do if you let it scan all of your data and pick out relevant snippets that can then be highlighted and acted upon. Aro Mobile, which is being shown off today at the Web 2.0 Summit, and received over $20 million from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, requires that you use their supplied web browser, contacts, email, search, and phone applications that tie into a cloud based service where natural language processing takes place. After Aro figures out what’s important, it presents you multiple options with how to interact with whatever data you happen to select.
It’s a bit rough around the edges, and the privacy concerns are numerous, but this is the future of smartphones. The problem with the vision is whether companies are going to allow such rich services to be built on top of their data. Web services, for the most part, are funded by advertising, which is why Facebook works best on Facebook.com, Flickr works best on Flickr.com, and why Twitter just started injecting advertisements into a user’s stream so that they see said ad regardless of the Twitter client they’re using.
What Aro is trying to do is present their own layer on top of your data, and it’s not yet known how they’re going to make money. When Apple bought Siri, an artificial intelligence company, people scratched their head and tried to figure out why. The compelling demo that Aro delivers is exactly the type of thing that Apple will try and deliver, bit by bit, over the coming years.