Over the past 10 years, the mobile phone has evolved in such electronic device, without which it is difficult to imagine modern life today. The phone can take photographs, record video, send e-mail, play music, television and indicate the direction of movement.
Two years ago, the leading analysts of mobile industry stated that the 3 billion mark of mobile users will be achieved only in 2010. Today, we can for certain say that mark of the 3 billion phones’ owners will be achieved by the end of this year.
With the development of the third generation networks (also called 3G networks), more people will own mobile phones, and get access to services using high-speed connections, such as mobile television or high-speed Internet. Web site CNET News.com, after the consultation with the leading experts, made a list of ten things that the ordinary mobile phones will be capable to do after 2010.
1. The Phone as a wallet
The new technology “Near-Field Communications" or abbreviated NFC, can transform an ordinary cell phone into credit or debit card. In order to pay for the purchase through a built-in NFC chip it is enough just to place a phone on a special, sensitive surface or hold it at a distance of a few centimeters near NFC- reader. The money will be immediately withdrawn from the bank account or deposit on credit.
Unlike "Radio Frequency Identification” or RFID technology, that is also designed for non-contact payments, NFC enables the two-way communication. For example, the phone with the NFC may ask for a PIN code to withdraw money from the account.
Today payments by NFC are being tested in such countries as the United States, Germany, Finland and the Netherlands. The technology is being already widely spread in Japan. The Japanese pay for purchases in stores, passengers fare and buy gasoline through their phones.
Nokia is also interested in this technology. The Finnish company has produced only one NFC - Nokia 6131 NFC, which was demonstrated at the 2007 CES (Consumer Electronics Show 2007) in January this year but in the future the product line of Nokia NFC will significantly increase. At this time, Nokia 6131 NFC is being tested by the mobile operator AT & T in New York.
People studying NFC, believe that the technology can be used not only for retail transactions. NFC is also able to read information from business cards equipped with NFC chips, or be used for booking plane tickets or concert tickets.
2. Internet in the pocket
Promises made by the manufacturers of software for the mobile phones and mobile phone manufacturers saying that the Internet on mobile phones will be a customary fact are slowly but surely coming to life. More phones are made with the fully-featured HTML browsers saving mobile users from the need to use WAP-sites, which are not so comfortable to use and not so beautiful, as usual PC HTML browsers.
For now only a small number of phones provided in the market are completed with browsers like mobile version Opera, mainly these devices are smartphones and communicators. In the future, even inexpensive "mass production" mobile phones will be completed with HTML browsers. For example, not so long ago the Motorola Company has expressed their desire to embed HTML browser in popular RAZR series mobile phones.
What does the massive built-in of HTML browsers in all produced mobile phones mean? The result will be the promotion of the online communities and as result the increase in number and increase in the number of participants. Indeed, the cellular phones have one indisputable advantage over the computers with the internet access - it is the mobility. You can easily write a message or post a picture anywhere and at any time. According to the estimated total of the ABI Research Company, about 50 million of people entered the Internet community through the mobile phones in December last year. The ABI Research Company predicts that 174 million people will regularly use the mobile phones to enter the community in 2011.
According to the FCC decree (Federal Communications Commission), USA, the mobile operators should be able to determine the location of people in case they call for help on telephone 911. Many mobile phones that are being sold in the United States are already equipped with Global Positioning System chips (Global Positioning System, GPS). Besides being able to locate people in emergency cases, such chips can be served to determine the location of the various organizations and agencies or driving direction.
The most common function of now and in the future will be the indication of direction. Satellite defines the current user position and shows on the mobile phone screen instructions in the form of voice prompts or graphics, where you are and how you have to go.
only two mobile operators offer such service in the United States -
Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel. Monthly subscription payment for the
service from Verizon Wireless is $ 9.99, while service from Sprint
Nextel is free under certain types of contracts.
GPS navigation technology can be used as a search engine too. For example, typing the word “pizza” in the navigation application, the screen will display a list of the nearest local places, which have pizza in their menu. IAC / InterActiveCorp Conglomerate, owning more than 60 major web sites, announced the desire to combine search engine site Ask.com with GPS navigation. When that happens, mobile users will be able to locate nearest shops, services and friends. Sprint Nextel will support this system. IAC / InterActiveCorp is planning to do likewise with Ticketmaster.com and Match.com.
Such operators like Boost, Helio and Disney Mobile have already started to offer such services. But after 2010, the accuracy of such systems will be incomparably higher than now. Still we can’t expect massive production of this technology earlier than in 2010.
4. Mobile search
Mobile search engines will become standard applications on all mobile phones during the next three years. Search engines will be available directly from the main screen of the user interface. Some phone cases will have an inbuilt separate button to start the search application. For example, Alltel Wireless announced in April that the mobile phone LG VX8600 will have a "JumpTap" function. The recently announced Samsung E950 has already had the button "Yahoo! Search ".
The Smartphone Helio Ocean is also equipped with the search function. To start it, it’s simply enough to open the QWERTY- keyboard, to type the searched word and press Enter. Search results from Google, Yahoo and Wikipedia will be immediately displayed.
5. The TV on the go
Mobile television boom in all its forms will happen just in a few years. IMS Research believes that there will be more than 30 million mobile users who will be actively using mobile television services in the United States in 2011. According to IMS Research, the United States will be supplied 70 million phones that support mobile television reception in 2011. More and more people are also getting rid of their satellite services like Directv at home.
Mobile users will get a broad access to the traditional content, which is created by professional companies, as well as to the content created by ordinary users.
The mobile phone displays will be a kind of "continuation" of the ordinary display of televisions and home computers. Those that can’t be watched at home can be viewed on the mobile phone. Sling Media, for instance, is already offering its users the ability to watch home television on Smartphones and Communicators with Windows Mobile.
Comcast, Time Warner, Cox Communications and Advance / Newhouse Communications, four largest cable TV companies, work with Sprint Nextel in order to have more TV shows available on the phones.
MediaFlo technology, developed by Qualcomm, is coming to the United States. The Qualcomm Company made agreement with the leading mobile operators in the United States (Verizon Wireless and AT&T) on the adaptation of this technology on the market. DVB-H standard is being mainly used in Europe.
Industry experts believe that the real start for mobile TV will happen with the Olympic Games in Beijing; that will be held next summer. Mobile operators are confident that people will watch live broadcasts Olympic Games on their phones.
6. Improved ergonomics and usability.
Most of us know that in order to run any application or enter the option it is necessary to do quite a lot of clicks on the phone keypad. But phones’ manufacturers and mobile phone operators are trying to make the interface more user friendly.
Apple iPhone that is being launched soon on the market is an excellent example of the phone with a convenient interface. Apple fans are sure that the iPhone interface will be the same successful as the iPod interface.
It can already be said that Apple iPhone is notable by the touch screen that reacts to the fingers pressure. The device can automatically target image depending on the angle displacement from horizontal to vertical or vice versa. This feature can be useful when watching videos, photos and Web surfing.
In the future, many phones will be equipped with the position sensors, like those that are used in the Nintendo Wii console. Such technology will give the possibility to serf the I-net online or enter the device menu by means of the light wave of the hand.
According to Ryan Hughes, Vice-President of the Digital Media Programming, Verizon Wireless users will soon be able to modify the list of applications located on the main screen. Motorola said that the RAZR 2 owners will not have any problems in finding the right person in the contact list, launching applications and communication. It’s still not clear how the interaction of the users and their mobile phones will be simplified.
7. «Smart» mobile networks
A number of modern mobile phones supports different network standards. This allows owners of this device to travel freely with one device in their pocket. In the future, as a standard all the mobile phones will have the built in Wi-Fi modules that will automatically connect to all access points that will be located in their area of reach.
T-Mobile USA is being experimenting this service for the last several months in Seattle. The service is called HotSpot @ Home and it is anticipated that it will be launched throughout the United States already this summer. For automatic switching of the wireless network technology to Wi-Fi will be used UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access). Monthly fee for HotSpot @ Home will be $20. Talking through Wi-Fi will be free of charge. In total T-Mobile USA expects to reach at least 8,000 public Wi-Fi access points, plus any access points located in the homes of ordinary Americans.
8. GSM base station – in every house
Many of the mobile users faced a situation where the mobile phone, perfectly finding the cellular network outside, could not find it in a room. This problem is known to mobile operators, and they offer the following way to solve it - home cellular base stations, which are also known as Femto Cell.
Compact Femto Cell operates the same as the usual stations covering large areas. It is necessary to connect Femto Cell to high-speed IP networks.
As Femto Cell are tightly connected to the individual mobile operators due to their specific frequency bands, then the base stations will have to be changed in case changing one operator to another.
In the United States, Femto Cell developments have not yet interested mobile operators. But in Europe in February this year, Femto Cell was presented by two companies at once - 3Way Networks in the UK and Ericsson, Sweden.
9. Ideal Photos
One of the most significant changes in the wireless industry was the embedding of a digital camera module in the mobile phone. According to the latest figures, 41% of American families have at least one camera phone, the cell phone with the built-in camera. In the future, all phones will have cameras, because even now is difficult to find the device without ion the market t.
Gartner analysts estimated, that there will be sold up to 1 billion of mobile phones with cameras in 2010 worldwide. The number of sold camera phone will constitute about 589 million devices in the current year.
There is no doubt that module technology for digital camera phones will be constantly developed and in the future the mobile phones, for example, with the 8-megapixel cameras will be quite a normal event.
William Plummer, Vice President of the Nokia multimedia products sales in North America, said that in a few years, mobile users will be able to edit their pictures, as the owners of digital cameras and high-end class and PC users can do now.
Phonevision will also be supported by most manufacturers and mobile operators. Forrester's Golvin analysts are confident that in the future, all mobile phones will be equipped with two cameras. One will be for high-quality pictures and video and another for phonevision and other advanced features, such as barcode readers.
Mobile applications for reading bar codes are widely spread in Japan and are already used in print. Instead of manually recording contacts or websites, it is enough just to carry a phone over the paper page, and all the necessary information will be immediately stored in the memory. Bar codes can also be marked on business cards.
10. Music all around
There is no doubt that the mobile music is very desirable, and in the future, more people will use mobile phones as music players.
According to Gartner, by 2010, mobile users will spend at least $ 32 billion on the purchase of musical compositions for their phones, while in 2007 they spend $ 3.7 billion. Saying about musical compositions Gartner means ringtones, realtones, ring back tones and full compositions. Music services in all their forms are second in the popularity and profitability of mobile services. Ahead of them are only SMS services. According to Gartner, full musical compositions will bring the most revenue in two years, and Apple will play the important role.
Apple iPhone is not yet purchasable, but it is already idolized. The device combines the functions of the most popular music player in the world iPod and smartphone functions; the device will be selling in the USA on June 29 and will be available in only AT&T and Apple stores. Although some critics note that iPhone lacks the support of the third-generation networks, the phone is still the ideal device from the point of view of the music functionality.
All the major phone manufacturers have music phones that can compete with the iPhone. Sony Ericsson has a Walkman line, Motorola has Rokr phones, and MotoQ Z8, and a new RIM BlackBerry 8300 Curve, which supports Bluetooth stereo profiles.
After 2010, mobile music will most likely remain the same. The thing that will happen is that the difference between conventional phones and phones with advanced music capabilities will fade, and, in the end, will be barely visible. Mobile operators and content providers would most likely reduce the cost of the services to ensure that services are available for more people and to increase the volume purchased compositions. And, as is expected, the digital protection (Digital Rights Management, DRM), will finally cease to exist in a few years.