Pushing back upgrades
“Earlier, when smartphones came out with their releases, there was a big difference in performance and technical specifications from the previous year. Newer apps required phones with updated and advanced hardware. Thus, we were bound and somewhat obliged to change phones to be able to use newer applications and keep up with market trends,” D’Souza said.
Take this: Several mobile operators now offer “24 months” bundle offers which further encourages people to keep using existing devices. The iPhone is one device that revolutionised the mobile phone domain by combining and bringing together a touch screen, good camera, solid and stable operating system and a high performance hardware bundled together all in one device.
Adam Irshaid and Zack Koenig, 17-year old French expat students living in Dubai agreed. “My phone is two years old and I have no plans of changing it anytime soon. All I need my phone for is internet and to make phone calls. The camera has never been important to me,” said Irshaid.
The French student said he has not upgraded his phone in the last three years and it is working well. “The last phone I had only lasted a little over two years. This shows an overall improvement in the quality of the smartphone industry.”
Indian expat Sandesh Patil, 35, programmatic director agreed also that smartphone buyers are getting fatigued with the plethora of options. “If you see the screens, we now have phones that are reaching nearly 100 per cent screen-to-body ratio.” Patil said: “Holographic displays, eco-friendly smartphones, educational tools, flexible frames. I imagine the future phones will rely more on integrating our physical lives with our digital lives. They probably won’t resemble the handsets we’re used to now. They’ll be built into other devices and products. Imagine a pair of glasses that can display a digital overlay on top of your physical surroundings.”
Lebanese expat Hicham Eid, 30, working as a digital sales manager in Dubai, however said, the word ‘fatigue’ for smart phones was a bit harsh. Sure, the gap has been increasing for people switching phones — and it is now clearly leaning towards three years. “But remember, we are in the era of smartphone brands polishing their products from all angles, i.e., design, technology, speed and more. That’s a good place to be right now as a consumer as these smartphones will accommodate our lives in a much better way,” said Eid.
Smartphone a utility tool
Another French expat Sabrina Maubert, 50, working as a sales and administrative coordinator said: “Ever since I relocated to Dubai from New York, I found myself using the social network even more. It has helped me to remain connected to family and friends. That’s crucial for me as it eases my everyday life. Pictures are very important to me so the camera quality is essential. I use my smartphone to chat, send voice messages, documents, videos, social network and then to call!”
Searching without typing: 5 things that could happen to your smartphone
Jay Hilotin, Senior Assistant Editor
DUBAI: For more than a century, until the mid-1990s, telephones were primarily used for making calls. Until then, the internet existed only in labs, hooking up universities. Twenty or so years later, the world totally went bananas over smartphones. The entire reason for being of a telephone has changed completely.
Only a few years ago, the use of facial recognition as phone password seemed whacky too. Now, large touchscreen have taken over keypads. Super HD cameras allow for 3D facial ID that helps keep hackers at back (at least in theory, anyway). Today, phones are used as music player, chat/email device, exercise monitor, web browser, game machine, voice recorder, movie camera, film editing and display device, and a host of other whiz-bang functions. Who would have known phones would do all these within that short period of time?
Now, let’s take a peek into the future real quick. What would smartphones look like in the next 25 years? What features will they have that would look like mad science today? These are the top 5 on my list (feel free to add):
1. Type with your mind, search without typing a word
Many companies (Facebook, Neuralik, AlterEgo) are tinkering with direct neural interface or brain-machine interface (BMI). With computer input via mind control, it promises to help people with hand deformities or those suffering from Parkinsons. No need to search for and click an app to open it. No need to stretch your finger all the way to the top of the screen to tap it. MIT researchers are working on a gear that allows a user to converse with machines with only their thoughts. The future phone may take on an entirely new form. Remember the failed Google Glass? The next phone could look just like that, just sleekier, faster, and funkier.
2. Longer battery life, over-the-air charging
Now, imagine a different future, when with over-the-air charging. In 2019, a tech company called Energous has rolled out a WattUp Mid Field transmitter: put your phone within three feet and it starts charging. And what works for phones would also work for electric vehicles.
Now, BMW has rolled out wireless charging for its EVs. Imagine if phones and electric vehicles also get charged as they move. That may require more powerful transmitters to allow for over-the-air charging at great distances, constantly charging your phone — and also your watch, headphone, car, ship, drone plane — from afar. And your battery has 100% charge all the time? That would usher in a new revolution, the way the telephone, electricity and internal combustion engines changed life on earth.
3. Trade stocks/forex from anywhere
So, with a smart phone, everyone can track millisecond gyrations in stocks, commodities or forex markets, and make money (or lose lots of it), based on their own reading of market trends. You could be lying on a beach in some tropical paradise (provided it’s not being hammered by a typhoon) while making millions on spot or day trades.
4. Elastic/stretchable displays
In 2017, Samsung announced a prototype of a stretchable display, able to be dented up to 12mm without causing damage. That display just bounces back to its original flat shape — similar to a trampoline — so it’s almost like the future is here. Besides stretchable displays, US researchers have also developed the first stretchable integrated circuit. Alternatively, phones of the future could be equipped by powerful lenses that project crisp moving images onto walls. This type of design would let you quickly increase the size of the device when watching videos, but still keep the phone’s form factor enough to fit in your pocket.
5. 6G/7G to infinity
Using higher-frequency radio bands, 6G promises much faster speeds and lower “latency”. Nothing is etched in stone — even the term “6G” could be called something else. But here’s one fact: big changes are in the offing for internet technology as a whole. This pandemic — with two-year-olds competing with adults for mobile data — has shown us that the bandwidth, latency and throughput available are never enough. We’ve all become mega consumers of internet data at record rates. We’ll leave the discussion on 7G some other time.
LATENCY VS BANDWIDTH VS THROUGHPUT
Bandwidth determines how narrow or wide a pipe is. The narrower it is, the less data is able to be pushed through it at once and vice-versa.
Throughput is the amount of data which can be transferred over a given time period.