The Multi-purpose Mobile Phone
The mobile phone is moving quickly from being just a device you use to make phone calls. It is steadily moving into the world of personal digital assistants (PDA's) and entertainment devices. It is very easy today to get a mobile phone which serves as a phone, diary, MP3 player, video player, word processor, and games console. In short its one device but with many functions which you do not need to buy separately. This is good news for the mobile phone manufacturers who are now classifying phones as multimedia computers. They are anticipating stealing business from companies who up to now have built single purpose gadgets such as MP3 music players.
Interestingly, Apple, who sell the market leading music player, the iPod, have just announced they will manufacture a mobile phone. It's also good news for the mobile operators who sell the phones, because they can sell a more expensive device with higher profit margins. They can also sell additional services such as music downloads over their mobile network. The phone which I use is a Nokia E61 which does all of the above things. It has a keyboard which allows me to type notes or indeed articles such as this one.
I can download my MP3 files and play them using it's music player, and also download and play video files. There are vast amounts of games which it can play, and I can hook it up to my office diary and email system. It weighs 144 grams and is about 12 cm by 7 cm with a depth of 1.5 cm. So it fits easily in a pocket. With earlier phones which attempted these functions lack of memory storage space on the device was a severe limiting factor. However my phone can use a plugin memory card which can provide up to 4GB of storage space. In theory this would allow me to play many hours of movies on my phone! There are many other models of phones offering all or many of the above functions. Some use the standard phone keypad layout so are not so good at typing large amounts of text. Others use a stylus based input mechanism for inputting text by writing on the screen.
So expect to see people doing more and more with their mobile phone. In fact attempts are now being made to use phones as a type of smartcard for paying for things in place of cash or credit cards. So it may not be long before the mobile phone replaces your wallet!.
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