Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Evolution of Mobile Phones

Phones from the past few years have been hallmarks along the slow path of mobile evolution since the first "brick" was released in 1983. A tremendous leap occurred in this timeline when the Apple iPhone came out in June 2007. The Apple iPhone is the first of it's kind to incorporate multi-touch technology. Multi-touch is a technology where the device is able to track the actions of more than one finger at once on a touchscreen.

The original and 3G iPhones are both equipped with quad band GSM/EDGE, but the newer 3G model also comes with tri-band HSDPA/UMTS at 850/1900/2100. The 3G model allows for faster data transfer for a more seamless web browsing experience and better networking. Wi-Fi is also standard on the original and 3G models, and the device supports Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR. Improving on the first generation's cell phone tower and Wi-Fi triangulation in the Maps application, the 3G model included A-GPS for very precise navigation.

The iPhone is designed as a slab device, where almost the entire face of the phone is one screen. This screen is spectacular, not only 3.5 inches, which is plenty of space for viewing movies, pictures, and web pages, but it has a pixel density of 160 ppi (pixels per inch). Below the screen is a single button, the "Home" button, which will return the user to the main screen with one push. The little touches aren't neglected in this device, such as the inclusion of an ambient light sensor to adjust the screen brightness automatically. There is also a proximity sensor so when the phone is brought up to the face, the back light is turned off, and accidental inputs are neglected. On the back, a 2.0 megapixel camera is integrated in the upper left corner.

To interact with the device, the multi-touch functionality allows the user to "flick" pages or pictures left/right with a quick dragging motion. Zooming in/out of photos or websites involves placing two fingers around the desired location, then either spreading them apart or closer together in a "pinching" gesture. The iPhone also accepts physical orientation sensing via a 3-axis accelerometer that detects the phone in portrait or landscape mode, allowing for wide screen videos, "Cover Flow" in the music interface, and wide screen web browsing.

To enable all of these wonderful features, the iPhone runs the full, complete, original OS X operating system, just with the unneeded drivers and code stripped out. This supports the phone with the tried and tested Unix-based architecture and extensive 3rd party application support via the SDK. The iPhone originally shipped with calendar, notes, YouTube, photo, camera, weather, stock, calculator, and map applications. Apple has added more applications, including the iTunes Wi-Fi music store, custom ringtones through iTunes, and an improved Google Maps Application. With the 2.0 OS, much more capability was added to the phone, including enterprise support, geotagging, and the App Store. The App Store allows users to download free or paid native applications on the go that enable instant messaging, Twitter, and Facebook support, to name a few.

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

Please remove this article or credit the original author.