Monday, May 12, 2014

The Future of Mobile Phones

Mobile Phone Media

Growth in the usage of mobile phones has been fast and unabated since their initial conception. This was perfectly understandable initially. Here was a product that nobody had, and eventually everybody would need, so over a period of just a few years, everyone bought one. However, once everybody had a mobile, how could that upward sales trend continue? This was achieved firstly by making smaller phones. Not only was it more convenient to have a small phone, but it became incredibly unfashionable to be seen talking on a phone the size of a brick. Reducing the size of phones could only go so far before the practical limit was reached, so this could not continue to fuel sales indefinitely. Most recently the craving to upgrade handsets at regular intervals has been fed by increasing the number of features that phones have. As technology has developed the mobile phone has consumed the functionality of other devices such as digital cameras, portable media players, PDAs, and game consoles.

Nowadays, if you have the latest mobile phone, you basically have a computer in your pocket. These smartphones far exceed the functionality of the humble phone. Along with the camera that will take photos of comparable quality to a compact digital camera and the music player that will come with enough memory to store thousands of songs, comes the ability to view and edit office documents, send and receive email, and access the internet. These functions are not added as a random collection, but instead have been integrated to complement each other, such that they make the whole more than just the sum of its parts. For example, there are special applications for uploading photos taken with the phone`s camera directly onto Facebook, or for videos to be immediately posted on YouTube. Music can be purchased and downloaded directly onto the phone, and instantly enjoyed using the in-built music player. The same is true of games, many of which now have a competitive element, where scores can be uploaded from the phone to an online leaderboard. Furthermore, there is an enormous array of small applications available to download, which range from the practical to the bizarre.

The way we interact with our mobile phones is also changing rapidly. The numeric keypad is firmly on its way out, and is being replaced by touchscreens and qwerty keyboards. The most modern phones are also including accelerometers, so our phones know their orientation and can alter the screen accordingly, as well as allowing us to control some functions by shaking or rotating the handset. Many of the features of new mobile phones depend heavily on the internet. It was the third generation (3G) network technology that allowed these new features to work at reasonable speeds. In the future we will see 4G networks, and it is possible that this will have a similar effect on the mobile internet as broadband had on home internet use.

By Lauren Fox News & Reviews Editor, 

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