|Contributed by Super Administrator|
|Sep 10, 2011 at 02:52 PM|
Mobile phone technology has gone from a curiosity to a globally used facility in just a few decades. As recently as ten years ago, phones had few facilities (unless they grew in size to brick size proportions), and it was common to have an air time contract that provided only 20 minutes a month. Now we have high quality displays on touch screens and an immense variety of downloadable applications. In affluent countries, most people have at least 100 minutes a month, and many have much more.
Curiously, one of the most popular features of mobile phones was added almost as an afterthought. Text messaging was first used by a test engineer in 1992 to send a Christmas message. Initial growth was slow, but then started to snowball, and now most mobile users send text messages, with some using the medium constantly. Twitter is a development out of the idea of text messaging, and the 140 character limit of Twitter is based on the text message limit of 160 less 20 characters for addressing and such like. Outside Europe, there are heavy users in the Philippines where around 400 million messages are sent each day.
Inevitably, as with most new technology, the phenomenon started in the so-called developed countries, but it has spread like wildfire. Companies such as Vodafone have established themselves in a number of countries and are now among the leading companies of the world. But use of mobile phones has spread to all countries, with services in what may have seemed unlikely places, such as the provider Ehsan Bayat Afghan Wireless which operates in Afghanistan.
Indeed, relief agencies have recently been tracking the movement of refugees by monitoring mobile phone signals. The ability to work without a costly fixed line network has given mobile technology an edge that has led to its being implemented in developing countries well ahead of conventional phones.
Mobile phones always used computer technology at their heart, but modern phones are powerful computers in their own right. With far more processing and memory power than the original IBM PC, modern phones rely on sophisticated operating systems and can run a huge variety of advanced applications. Recently, the established specialists in phone operating systems have been pushed out. First by Apple, whose iPhone has quickly established major market share, and then Google whose Android system is the main alternative to Apple's software.
Microsoft's continual attempts to break into the phone market have failed to make substantial headway. This may be to do with the handset makers' fear of Microsoft's proven ability to divert the profits from PC making away from the hardware manufacturers.
We are likely to see continuing rapid innovation for some while yet. Third generation coverage is still patchy, but is good enough in cities to enable extensive data movement. Apple and Google seem likely to retain the initiative for some time to come.
|Last Updated ( Dec 08, 2011 at 09:43 PM )|