Nokia Research Labs are testing a concept called universal inbox. With the influx of different applications and services, people have to continuously check each of them to know whether there’s an update or not. Nokia’s approach to this has been to create a single inbox that is able to tell updates from a variety of services. Furthermore, the inbox looks like a regular inbox you have in e-mail, but the recent messages can include content from e-mails, text messages, call logs, tweets, Facebook updates and Flickr photos among others.

The trend is not something Nokia is pursuing on its own. Just last week, Facebook announced its Messages service where it plans to combine all different kinds of communication channels into one so that the user does not have to think which channel she needs to respond on. With this kind of an approach, the user can think of the communication between the person more and not worry about the choice of service.

The universal inbox would function through a service in the cloud. The service gathers all the information different web services into the cloud service and these then get pushed to the mobile device. There are obvious reasons behind this. Constant pinging and updating on a mobile phone would drain the battery, but also consume valuable computing resources.

The universal inbox also has a feature called Lenses. Lenses will enable you to tackle the volume of messages in an interesting way. You’ll be able to create a sort of mini-inboxes for certain groups of people related to a particular topic. It’s basically a people and interest oriented way to filter your incoming messages to a more readable and functional form.

While it may seem this is a relatively well thought out concept, it’s still a prototype in the Nokia Research Labs in Palo Alto. It remains to be seen whether we’ll be seeing this on a smart phone any time soon.

Source: Technology Review
Image: Nokia Research Center

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