Tuesday, December 12

The Ever Changing World of Cell Phones

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Mobile phones have come a long, long way from the large “portable” devices they were around 30 years ago. In fact since the DynaTAC 8000x was released in 1983 by Motorola weighing over 2KG and being as “portable” as a young child, phones have become an integral part of our lives. What originally called a wrong number (the prototype cell phone first out bound call has been said to have been a call to the wrong number) has gone on to be more than just a small phone but a mobile computer system that allows the user to organise their life, connect to the internet and know where they are.

The devices have obviously shrunk, they have gone from the size of a paraffin lamp to being able to fit in and operated by just a single hand. They’ve lost a lot of weight too, from 2KG to less than 100g helping to make them an ideal size to fit into a normal sized pocket rather than require you to carry them over your shoulder or in a ruck sack, in fact now they are truly mobile phones rather than phones that you need a car to take from place to place. Though it’s not the size or portability that has been the biggest progression but the functionality.

The first step forward was the ability to sent SMS (text messages) from phone to phone. A short easy to use function that allowed two people to communicate from phone to phone around the world. These started to be used in the 1990’s though have boomed to being used more regularly than actual calls of a phone. In the early days SMS wasn’t widely used though today trillions are sent annually.

The next step for phones was customisation, being able to choose your ring tones and the such. Originally these were from a small selection of in built tunes though now we are able to put our own tracks onto phones, using a variety of formats up to the industry standard of MP3 allowing us near CD quality ring tones. We are now able to customise further selecting themes, backgrounds, text tones and any number of variables such as RSS streams, e-mails and weather.

Of course mobile phones are no longer “phones” they are a personal media centre, capable of taking photos, recording video, playing music, playing radio, TV and websites such as Youtube. The idea of a mobile being a phone is becoming a bit of a lost concept they are no longer phones they are gadgets and gizmo’s, toys that allow us to feel at home away from home. Modern phones have also become hand held gaming devices. Although not on par with the Nintendo DS or the Sony PSP the games aspect is a growing one, the iOS (used by the iPhones) appear to make gaming an ever growing tool for phone users.

In today’s modern world though maybe the biggest move forward have been the fact phones have been able to connect to the internet. What started as the ability to connect to WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) has now evolved from black and white simple websites to what is effectively the full internet in your hand. The number of browsers available and the advancement in technology has allowed the internet to be there for everyone. Whether you want to gamble, knock stock prices, read the news, keep up with sports scores or even watch TV over the internet it is all there for you. The ability to download “apps” from various markets was another step in allowing the mobile phone to take over our lives though it was another step in cutting off just what we need.

With the advancement of mobile phones it’s impossible to really be sure how far we can take the devices, things like the James Bond car controlled by the phone in Tomorrow Never Dies maybe closer to reality than the producers expected. Where phones go is limited not by technology or size but what people can think of doing with them. What were once camera phones are now media playing hand haled computers with in built organisers and the ability make calls, the scope between phone and hand held computer is shrinking by the month and down the line they will surely overlap.

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