Don’t get excited about magnetometers

Last week Boy Genius Report leaked images and specifications for most of the BlackBerry devices that will be released in the next half year or so. One new piece of hardware included on each of them is a magnetometer, better known as a digital compass. Given that the iPhone has had a magnetometer for a while now it is not all the surprising that RIM felt the need to eventually add it on their devices. That said this is a pretty useless addition of hardware.

In a year and half of the iPhone having a digital compass only two uses have been found for it. The first is to point North. The second is for augmented reality. Personally I have a good sense of direction and therefore no need to use a compass to know which direction is North. Augmented reality is the use that people get more excited about, but that is pretty useless as well.

First of all augmented reality is very cool. It is awesome that the technology exists to do this. However in the end it is nothing more then a tech demo. So while it is impressive that you can do this, it is not useful that you can do this.

The leak also indicates that the next generation of BlackBerrys will come with hardware for NFC (near field communication). NFC is the technology to actually get excited about.