Mobile phones, will they catch on?

I do wonder if the concept of a mobile phone would ever catch on….

From 13th September 1979…

Michael Rodd makes a call with an experimental cordless mobile phone.
It’s 1979 and time for the telephone to go mobile. In this report from a longer programme, Michael Rodd examines a British prototype for a cordless telephone that allows the user to make calls from anywhere. Also included at the end of this item is a rather nice out-take as Rodd also experiences the first mobile wrong number.

I do recall watching this when it was broadcast.

Of course we don’t really use our phones as phones these days, the mini computer we have in our pockets is now used for way more than just making calls.

Reducing Roaming Costs

Royal Hospital Kilmainham

Last week I was in Dublin for the LILAC 16 conference. The last time I was in Ireland was in 2012. Back then I was on an EE contract and when I arrived at Dublin Airport I tuned flight mode on, on my iPhone as I didn’t want to incur huge roaming charges. There was quite a few press stories (and still are now and again) on people taking their smartphones abroad and racking up huge charges in their phones because of the way modern phones use data. I spent the week using wifi and making the odd call home when needed.

Since then there has been new EU legislation on roaming charges. I also have moved away from EE and have a new contract with Three using an iPhone 6S Plus. The contract gives me unlimited data on the phone as well as unlimited texts and a generous number of minutes, well who uses their phones for making calls these days?

So before this visit to Dublin I checked the Three website and was pleasantly surprised to find out that I could use my phone abroad with no extra costs!

So before this visit to Dublin I checked the Three website and was pleasantly surprised to find out that I could use my phone abroad with no extra costs!

Though I have an unlimited plan, there are some restrictions when using my plan abroad.

If you have all-you-can-eat data you can use up to 12GB. If you have all-you-can-eat texts you can send up to 5,000 texts.

So during my visit I was able to easily join the Three Ireland network, make calls, send texts and use data with no problems or worries. Though it has to be said the UCD enduros wifi network was excellent and faster than the Three 3G network, whilst the 3G was faster and more reliable than the hotel network. As I was there only three days, the 12GB allowance was more than enough.

After I got back I got a text from Three. According to them I saved £56.36 which was nice.

According to them I saved £56.36 which was nice.

MS-DOS Mobile

This made me smile.

Today Microsoft launch MS-DOS Mobile, a new OS designed especially for Lumia smartphones.

Microsoft are going back to where productivity started for millions of people, launching a beautifully simple OS.

The MS-DOS Mobile preview is an essential download for those who remember life before Windows, those who want to go back to BASIC, or even those looking to boot into DOS for the first time.

Note today’s date.

Getting Bigger

Phablets by Maria Elena

You have probably noticed that over the last few years mobile phones have been getting bigger, and tablets, such as the iPad have been getting smaller. Almost a convergence in terms of size between phones and tablets.

Doing some internet research for another article I found this comment I made on Brian Kelly’s blog post (from 2008) on what devices we would be using in 2013. My main comment was wondering if devices (such as phones) would get bigger!

James Clay said
7 February 2008 at 1:16 pm

I believe that the key difference will be is that the storage capabilities will become less important, as connectivity improves allowing easy access to information and content whenever and wherever you are.

I wonder if the devices will get bigger rather than smaller?

Think about phones, the Nokia N95 is a BIG phone compared to the compact small phones of a few years ago.

The iPod touch screen is so much bigger than the iPod video screen.

Bigger and thinner possibly?

Though for me the downside of all the functionality is battery life and I wonder if there will be minimal improvement in functionality, but a huge leap in the battery life as technology improves the power efficiency of the chips and memory.

As with all things rather than look five years in the future, look five years in the past.

In 2003 I had a phone which could play music, video, had an in-built radio, could surf the net (slowly on a GPRS) connection.

In 2008 I can do all those things but in higher quality and I know where I am (GPS).

In 2013…

I thought it would be interesting to see what said then and see how things have changed and also look forward a little more.

I said back then “I wonder if the devices will get bigger rather than smaller?” well in 2013 we saw the first large phones or phablets. The iPad mini had been released the year before and we had played around with the iPad since 2010, but now we wanted smaller tablets.

Now in 2015, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have been released by Apple and as with many Apple devices, and as I predicted, these are bigger and thinner than the phones we had in 2008.

Connectivity is much better with most new devices able to access 4G speeds, but not all of us can afford to be connected at those speeds.

These larger screens, more powerful connectivity have large power requirements compared to older devices. Back in 2008 I said

I wonder if there will be minimal improvement in functionality, but a huge leap in the battery life as technology improves the power efficiency of the chips and memory.

Manufacturers have improved battery life for their devices, still for most people there is a requirement to charge every day, but at least the battery does last most of the day. I remember having a Nokia N95 and too often the battery would only last half a day as I did use many of the different functions on the phone.

One thing that wasn’t mentioned in the first post was battery life, but I commented on in the following post.

Upon reflection I realised why I carry multiple devices around. The key reason is battery life.

If my phone has GPS, plays video and/or music, internet, acts as a 3G modem for my laptop, oh and makes phone calls; then even with a large battery I don’t expect it to last the day.

Spread the functionality over multiple devices and suddenly I can ensure that I can do all of the above, over catching the 6.30am train to London, all day in a meeting or a conference, and back again to reach home at 7.30pm.

I have multiple devices as a single device can not last for the time I need it.

The one change from 2008 that is much more apparent is the decline of the specialist device and the move to a multi-function device. No longer are we carrying pocket cameras, dedicated music players, video devices, e-book readers; our larger phones now do all that for us and then some…

So what will the device of 2020 look like?

Well that’s more difficult to predict, what do you think?

Image Credit: Maria Elena

Retiring

iPhone 3GS

After many years good service I have decided to retire my iPhone 3GS. It was the first iPhone I had purchased, though I had been using an 3G for work for about a year. When I got it I was totally impressed compared to the 3G and it did so much more and much better than the Nokia N95 it replaced (which was in itself a replacement for the LG Viewty I had that was an awful phone and was “broken” from when I got it). The Nokia N95 is, or was a great phone, it still has one of the best cameras in any phone I have used, and there are features of the Symbian operating system that seem to work much better than the same features on iOS. There were a few apps that I used on the N95 which I really liked and again haven’t been really surpassed on iOS.

I used JoikuSpot for many years to tether my laptop to the internet. This was a great app and very reliable, though it did kill the battery. The Nokia N95 was one of the first phones to have 3G and WiFi. I have never been that impressed with tethering on the iPhone and as a result rarely use it, much preferring to use Android on a Google Nexus One for tethering.

The other app I liked was Shozu which made it really simple when taking a photograph to upload automatically to Flickr or my blog. As it linked into the phone operating system, this meant you could use the standard camera app. Due to Apple limitations with how apps work with iOS, you can automatically upload images to iCloud, but not to other places. You can have an app that automatically uploads when you take a photograph, but you need to be using that app when taking the images. I have tried Shozu on iOS, but it isn’t as smooth as it was on the Nokia N95.

Despite my reservations on those two aspects of iOS, the rest of the features of the 3GS were very impressive. The key ones that stand out to me were the way it handled text messages, once I got the 3GS, was when I started to use SMS and texting. I really never got the hang of it on other phones, but with the “real” on screen keyboard I found I could handle that and I did a fair bit of texting compared to before. The camera was certainly a big improvement on the 3G, but still not as good as the N95. One aspect of the improved camera was that the iPhone could now more easily read QR Codes. The big difference really though was how easy it was to buy and install apps. Getting apps through the iTunes ecosystem made it very simple to get them. With previous smartphones you would need to go to different developers to buy apps and install them in different ways. If you needed to reset the phone you would need to ensure you had backups. With the iPhone you could get software from a range of developers from just one place. As a result I got hundreds of apps over the last few years for iOS. At least with Google Play today, you can have a similar experience with Android.

The main downside of the 3GS was the battery life, with careful conservation you could make the battery last a day, but if you did anything too power hungry then you would find, as I did, that the battery would run out in the afternoon. In the end I bought a case with an integrated additional battery. This did work well and ensured when I was using the phone intensively it would at least last the day.

The real tricky part of retiring the iPhone though was cancelling my contract with O2! I was out of “contract” on my pay monthly account, so there was no termination fee, but cancelling was very difficult, even when you eventually worked out that you had to “speak” to an adviser, all they tried to do was to keep you as a customer, can’t blame them I guess, but it was annoying. It also seemed to take ages…

Crashing Nokia N95

Over the last couple of days I have been having a few issues with my Nokia N95.

It keeps crashing! So much so that I have had to open it up remove the battery and reboot.

Crashing Nokia N95

I was using Shozu to upload photographs to Flickr, so was using a third party application, my 3G connection and the camera.

Not sure of the reason behind the freezes and crashes.

Photo source.

“Why Kyte will kill Qik!”

Robert Scoble on TechCrunch has written a well detailed and informative article on why he reckons that Kyte.tv will win over other services such as Qik in the mobile phone streaming live video arena.

Anyway, back to the fight between Kyte, Qik, and Flixwagon over your cell phone video experience. Last year I was Kyte’s top user too. Why did I switch to Qik? Because I saw that cell phone video would let me extend my brand into places no other video network was letting me get to. I was the only one doing cell phone videos from the World Economic Forum, for instance, something that got me a lot of attention and followers. I told Kyte’s CEO, Daniel Graf, tons of times over the past seven months to get video streaming into his product. At first he resisted, thinking it wasn’t that big a deal, but on Friday I finally tested it out on my cell phone and was impressed enough to give Kyte a second look.

Robert Scoble is one of the top (if not the top) streaming mobile phone video users and has done some really interesting stuff at events all over the world.

“Why Kyte will kill Qik!”

Article is certainly interesting and well worth reading.

Mobile Flash

The BBC reports that

Adobe has announced a plan to try to get its Flash player installed on more mobile devices and set-top boxes.

Dubbed Open Screen the initiative lifts restrictions on how its multimedia handling software can be used.
Adobe will stop charging licencing fees for mobile versions of Flash and plans to publish information about the inner workings of the code.

In taking this step Adobe hopes to repeat on mobiles the success its Flash technology has enjoyed on the web.

Interested to see if Flash lite supports more Flash content then it does now.

LG Viewty growing on me…

My T-Mobile LG Viewty is growing on me.

Okay this is no replacement for Apple’s iPhone, but the more I use it and the more I get use to the touch interface, the more I quite like it.

Where I think it is starting to win me over, especially over Nokia phones such as the N73 and the N95 is on text entry input, especially when in landscape mode.

In landscape mode when browsing I have a full QWERTY keyboard which makes typing entries into Twitter or Jaiku so much easier than trying to use T9 on a numerical keyboard.

There are still a few downsides, it still crashes on me for example. I don’t like how to scroll down in webpages – on menus you use the dial on the camera lens, but on the browser the dial on the lens works as a zoom function! The touch interface is nowhere near as good as the iPhone (or the iPod touch) but is still quite nice once you get use to it.

I even managed to upload a photograph to Flickr today, not using Shozu, but the mobile Flickr interface – thought this won’t work if you use Vodafone.

Overall I am growing to like this phone.