Advances in technology occur continuously, this is particularly true of the vastly competitive and high value world of mobile telecommunications. New mobile phone handsets hit the shelves on a daily daily basis and each is a slight (or sometimes major) improvement on its predecessor. In the past phone giants such as Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Blackberry and Apple have gone head to head to develop the most intuitive operating systems, create the most user friendly QWERTY keyboard and integrate touch screen technology to the greatest effect. More recently the focus has been on offering higher resolution cameras, speeding up internet connectivity and offering the most desirable range of apps, these are however by no means the sole aims of manufacturers: all of these small battles are ongoing and developments occur and are integrated into new handsets constantly.
Just because the latest handsets in the UK do not offer certain features however does not mean that they do not exist. A cursory glance at the technology on offer in China and Japan for instance shows that despite the late slightly improved incarnation of the iPhone may be at the cutting edge on our shores, it is by no means the most ‘techie’ model currently in production. Rather than importing certain handsets and encountering the high unit cost and absence of technical support that comes with it however, we can look to overseas markets and make some pretty solid judgments about what technology could be introducing the UK market over the next year, based on what already exists on the other side of the globe.
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One of the most exciting and potentially groundbreaking pieces of technology found in a great number of Japanese phones is the FeliCa chip, handsets featuring this minuscule piece of hardware are referred to as ‘Wallet Phones’ as this chip allows the handset to perform cashless, instant financial transactions. Compatible with train station ticket machines, vending machines and payment terminals at numerous stores in Japan, the phone owner can pay for goods and services instantly with their phone. Astoundingly this technology first came into use 2004 but has still not been established in the UK, this may be about to change given the recent introduction of Barclaycard contactless technology which operates in a similar manner to the FeliCa chip. Mobile phone network provider Orange have also teamed up with Barclaycard in this venture and filed to develop a handset which fulfills this function in the near future.
Although less likely to bring about a major cultural change than wallet phone technology, gadget enthusiasts and traveling businessmen alike will be excited at the prospect of mobile phones which incorporated projectors. Already in its third generation in the Far East, internal projector technology could revolutionize the way in which business presentations are made and videos are shown on the move. With some handsets capable to project high resolution visuals up to 8 feet tall already on sale in Asia, it is only a matter of time before European distributors start pushing this concept closer to home. The sooner the better!
There are literally hundreds of features currently present in mobile phones in Asia which are yet to be taped into the industry in Europe. From body fat density monitors to face recognition security protocols the know-how is out there, we’ll just have to wait for it here in the UK. In the meantime it might be a good idea to opt for 12 month rather than 24 month contracts if looking for a new phone, so that you’re ready to upgrade when these potentials become reality.