Thursday, February 28, 2008

Predictions for the future of mobile phones and mobile broadband

As we roll on through 2008, the mobile world is evolving fast. Very fast! So fast, in fact, that at times it's hard to keep up. What's 'in', what's the new thing we simply have to have? Well, let's have a look, and see what we can expect for 2008!

First of all, and this should be obvious, mobile phones are going to become more advanced. Much more advanced. What we think of as top-end camera phones now, for example, will gradually slip down the pecking order, until that spec of phone is classed as a budget feature. And as smartphones get smarter, 'dumb phones' (oh ok, let's be charitable and call thi 'feature phones'...) will inevitably follow suit, growing smarter, and gaining ever more features to set thi apart from the competition. Maybe it would be a good idea to look at some specific examples!

Camera Phones

At the moment the best cameras you can get on mobile phones are found on the absolute top-end of the market. Phones like the Nokia N82, the Sony Ericsson K850i and the upcoming Nokia N96 all have 5 megapixel cameras. Not only that, but they all have distinguishing features that set thi apart from other camera phones. The Nokias have Carl Zeiss lenses, while the Sony Ericsson has Cyber-Shot technology. In fact, the average camera phone nowadays is hovering around the 2 or 3 megapixel mark, compared to 2 years ago, when 2 megapixels was a top-end phone! Clearly, as we move forward, they're going to get even better. I won't be surprised if we see 7 and 8 megapixel camera phones in the latter half of 2008. It's one of those things that has a certain inevitability about it. You just know it will happen. And it will be cool!

Music Phones

Camera phones aren't the only ones evolving. Just look at music phones, too, most noticeably the upcoming Sony Ericsson W980i (part of its Walkman series) and, yes, the Apple iPhone. The Sony Ericsson features the latest Walkman player, with such advanced features as shake controls (simply shake the phone to change tracks!) and SensMe. That second one is particularly impressive, because you tell the phone what mood you're in, and it automatically works out what music will fit that mood, almost like its reading your mind! And no matter what your opinion of the iPhone (personally, I don't like it), it does have an exceptionally cool version of iTunes built in. The future of music phones is hard to predict, but given that all the really big developments in music phones have come in less than 2 years, the future's sure to be mind-blowing!

GPS Phones

One feature that's not been seen on mobile phones much up until now, but that will make a massive splash in 2008, is GPS. We're already seeing more phones being announced with it built in (the Nokia N96, Sony Ericsson X1 Xperia and Samsung G810 spring to mind) and that number is only going to increase, allowing people to get full navigation on their mobile phone. But it also opens up a cool feature called 'geotagging'. Basically, if you see something cool (like some monument... insert your own example, here!), whip your phone out, take a photo of it, then tag that photo with location info. And then, send that photo on to a friend. They won't just be able to see the pic, they'll be able to find the same monument (or whatever you inserted as your example)!

Super-Duper-Smart Phones

Ok, I confess, I made that name up, but I'm making a point. Smartphones of today will be nothing compared to the smartphones of the future. You want examples? Well, take the Sony Ericsson P1i, available now. Stunning phone, 3G data speeds at 384 kbps, 3 megapixel camera, QWERTY keyboard. Very, VERY nice phone. Now consider the Sony Ericsson X1 Xperia, a recently announced smartphone that while not a direct replacient for the P1i, outclasses it in every single imaginable way! So, it has a megapixel camera, full Windows Mobile interface, huge QWERTY keyboard and built in GPS. Oh, and it can connect to the net at up to 3.6Mbps, nearly 10 times faster than the P1i. Smartphones of the future are simply going to boggle our minds!

Mobile Broadband

This is the big one... This is the single thing that is going to most revolutionise the world in 2008. I've spoken about mobile phones, but mobile broadband s something else entirely. Basically, imagine the internet on your laptop. But not through WiFi. No, it's using a fully mobile signal, connecting to a cell tower, just like mobile phones do. So, it really is the internet ANYWHERE, and because it is true broadband, not some pale imitation, you'll get speeds, at present, of up to 7.2Mbps. And that's now, only a couple of months into the evolution of mobile broadband. When contiplating how fast it will become, well, there's no way to tell, but one thing's for sure. Mobile broadband is the future. And it is going to change the world!

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