When mobile phones were introduced in the 80s, the world celebrated as calls could be done wirelessly. The clunky so-called “cellular phones” were as large as an adult man’s shoe, not including the antenna. Today, mobile phones have shrunk considerably in size; yet their functions have increased enormously. In a 2014 article published by the Daily Mail, ‘making calls’ is no longer the top function of a mobile phone. This was based from a survey done by taxi app Hailo where 2,000 respondents were involved.
The top 10 functions of a mobile phone today are ranked as follows:
- Sending text messages
- Reading text messages
- Reading emails
- Surfing the Internet
- Setting an alarm clock
- Making calls
- Sending emails
- Checking the time
- Using the calculator
- Checking Facebook
Making calls landed in the 6th spot adding that respondents could actually live without a call function in a mobile phone. As such, mobile phones are now called smartphones, an evolutionary name that tags the device as a multitasking handheld machine. The applications or apps being downloaded directly allow users to engage the mobile phone in many different ways. A typical smartphone can now allow users to surf the Internet, play games, listen to music, watch videos, compose emails, read messages and so much more.
According to a 2015 report from Ericsson, there are 2.6 billion smartphone subscriptions globally and the number is expected to triple by 2020. Alongside this is the continuing evolution of the device. More people are attracted to smartphones as they offer more ways of engaging users. This shift in technological capability is expressed in emerging mobile trends like the ones featured below.
1. Hosting Augmented and Virtual Reality Games.
It wasn’t until this year when virtual reality and augmented finally landed a sure spot in the tech world. From the Oculus Rift to the various VR headsets launched by big tech companies like Samsung and Sony, mobile phones are now being used as screens in projecting three-dimensional worlds. And who would forget the craze that is Pokemon G? The augmented reality game that took the world by storm is made possible through the use of a mobile phone as well.
2. Connecting Smart Home Devices.
Aside from the exciting world of gaming, smartphones have also become the linking device between homeowners and smart home devices. The emergence of the Internet of Things has spawned the idea of the so-called smart home. It comprises digital devices that could connect and communicate to each other via the Internet in order to automate its own functions. A light bulb can switch off on its own while a thermostat can adjust the room temperature automatically. The mobile phone serves as the remote for these devices.
3. Controlling Drones.
Mobile phones are also being used now for controlling certain quadcopter drone models as well. These flying and ground machines have initially been used by the United States military during the war in the Middle East. Soon after that, they found their way to the consumer market making it a popular device for recreation and media. A nifty addition to these drones is that they can be controlled with a smartphone instead of a typical joystick we usually see in remote-controlled devices.
It’s amazing to see how far the mobile phone has gone. From being merely a bulky device that could make calls, it can now do so much more – and it fits perfectly in your shirt pocket.