The Evolution of the Mobile Phone

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On April 3rd 1973, a Motorola researcher by the name of Martin Cooper, made the first telephone call from a handheld portable phone, and in doing so he changed the world forever. The prototype phone used by Mr. Cooper weighed 1.1 kg, offered a talk time of just 30 minutes and took 10 hours to get fully charged!


Since then, the mobile phone has gone through a remarkable evolution from stylish flip phones, to the first camera phone, to the current smartphones with its vast capabilities and functionalities. In today’s “‘always on, always connected” world, it is hard to comprehend that these devices were once reserved for a privileged few. The infographic above shows some of the devices which have defined the era of mobile, and a look at some of the trends which may revolutionize it into the future.

 

WIRELESS CHARGING

Working on the principle of electromagnetic induction, wireless charging of electronic devices is a much needed breakthrough, especially given the issues with the battery life of many of the smartphones on the market today.

Wireless charging works as a result of the magnetic field created by the current passing through coils of wire in a base station (charging plate). If the wire is part of a battery charging circuit, then you have wireless charging. Whilst not as efficient as direct cable connection (around 60%-70% as efficient), it will be ideal for that boost needed to get your device through the day.

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FLEXIBLE SCREEN

Whilst it might initially be considered a superfluous feature, the flexible screen offers some very practical uses. Firstly, traditional glass touchscreens have a habit of shattering and scratching and cost €100 on average to get fixed.

A recent study from Square Trade shows that Americans have spent a whopping $23.5 billion on repairing or replacing damaged smartphones in the seven years since the first iPhone debuted! Flexible screens can survive a lot more wear and tear and are virtually unbreakable. Secondly, flexible screens allow users to seamlessly adapt their device to more suit their needs. For example, when watching videos the user could expand their smartphone to tablet size.


Whilst the possibilities may seem endless, until other components such as batteries also become flexible, there are limits to what flexible screens can offer. In the short term, it appears likely that one of the Asian manufacturers will bring out a standard smartphone with a flexible e-ink display on the back of the phone for web surfing.

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MOBILE PROJECTOR

A projector phone is a mobile phone that contains a built in pico-projector. In April 2014, and after the introduction of its much maligned first projector phone a couple of years previous, Samsung decided to give it another go, unveiling the Galaxy Beam 2 to the Chinese market. The projector, which has a WVGA resolution, is located on top of the device.


The projector may seem like a wacky piece of functionality to build into a mobile phone, but cast your mind back a decade ago, when camera phones were first coming to market. Some of the criticisms levelled at those devices are the same that are being levelled at the Beam 2 today – it’s too expensive, and the technology won’t come close to replacing the current projectors on the market.

Fast forward a decade however, and the concept of a smartphone having a great camera is now a given. We’re all ears to these type of wacky inventions here at KillBiller, we’re just picturing ourselves out in the sunshine with a few beers watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones on a 40ft x 40ft wall!

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5G NETWORK

This one we don’t know much about as of yet. 5G is the next major development of mobile telecommunications standards beyond the current 4G standards. Whilst still some years away (the most optimistic targets would see the first commercial network up and running by 2020), 5G is expected to offer much faster data speeds of 10 gigabytes per second, and very low latency such that its proliferation will facilitate the growth and potential of the much heralded internet of things (IoT). With the possibility of applying IoT technology to everything from cars to hospitals and utilities, 5G could save up to 90% on energy consumption over the current 4G standards.

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