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A Look At Emerging Phone Technologies

January 23, 2014 No Comments

In the past decades, phone technology has advanced rapidly. The bulky car phones of the ’80s and first cellular phones are a long forgotten memory with today’s smartphones that include a vast array of applications, cameras and more. They are designed to keep us entertained, fit, on schedule and connected at all times. For many, mobile phones have replaced their organizers, watches, timers and calendars. With so many features already in one device, it is hard to imagine that there is more to come, but developers are working hard at staying ahead in this very competitive market, so let’s have a look at the latest emerging phone technologies.

Faster WiFi Phones and the New Generation Hotspot Program

Phones used to operate strictly through contract carriers. All calls and data had to go through the carrier, adding to your phone bill. However. WiFi technology has changed everything. With most smartphones featuring WiFi connectivity, users can now connect to home and office networks or other WiFi spots and benefit from fast and cheaper Internet and cheap VOIP phone calls. According to CNN, new Wi-Fi technology known as 802.11ac has been approved and it speeds up the WiFi connection to 1.3 Gigabits per second. This is fast enough to stream three high definition movies simultaneously.

The development is also good news for cell phone companies who are looking at deploying WiFi hotspots countrywide to try and relieve their already congested networks. This new WiFi speed compares favorably with 4G speeds. Hotspot 2.0 technology makes WiFi roaming possible and allows data sessions to be passed on from the cellular network to WiFi and back seamlessly. The Wireless Broadband Alliance is currently working on the Next Generation Hotspot program, aimed at enabling users to jump to the best available network, whether it be WiFi or cellular. Carriers benefit by being able to set rules which will push traffic from the cellular macro network to the WiFi hotspots if certain satellite towers are congested. Carriers can also reduce roaming costs with this technology.

Smartfashion – Wearable Technology

Whether wearable devices will replace mobile phones with their larger screens remains to be seen, but with the release of Samsung’s Galaxy Gear and Google Glass earlier this year, it looks like wearable mobile technology is gaining interest. The Galaxy Gear is made to pair with Samsung’s smartphones and you can use this watch to receive or place calls. Google Glass can also be paired with Android phones and acts as a Bluetooth headset, allowing you to place and receive calls.

Open Source Telephony

Currently Android and iPhone dominate the world market when it comes to mobile phone operating systems. But there is a need for a system that can run any mobile software and not be limited to the apps on the Google and Apple stores. This could save individuals a lot of money and allow them to completely customize their phones with enhanced features. Saifish, Firefox OS, Ubuntu Mobile and Tizen are all working on creating an open source system that is completely open, easy to modify and will allow apps to be ported easily.

In computer telephony, open source software is also emerging as a viable option. Some businesses prefer to have their computer telephone systems run on Linux because it is so easily accessible and freely available, provides a trustworthy server platform and can be customized to suit the company’s individual requirements. It also prevents vendor-lock, giving full control to the system owner.

VoIP is also gaining popularity among businesses and many businesses are switching over to VoIP systems, using open source VoIP software such as Asterisk to enable them to fully customize it to suit their needs. A great benefit of VoIP is that it is often much cheaper, especially if you have to make calls to companies in other countries. With services such as Contact Numbers, international corporate collaboration is becoming much easier.

Haptic Touch Feedback

Most current day smart phones have touch screens, but some users still prefer phones with buttons because of the tactile feedback, which is why phones such as Blackberry still remain popular with users who do a lot of texting. Manufacturers are now trying to develop touch screens that are less static to fulfill that need. Apple, for instance has been awarded a patent on an interface that provides haptic touch feedback. Actuators underneath the touch screen will enable users to feel controls, buttons and other elements on the screen. The patent also describes the possible use of force sensors, which measure the amount of force that is applied when pressing a certain element on the screen.

Neal Bricker has covered technology topics for a variety of publications over the last decade. He’s an avid tech enthusiast who’s always looking for the next big thing.

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