The Mobile Phone Story

By: J Tillotson

Once upon a time, there was a little gadget called a mobile phone. This phone thought it was great because it could let its owner talk to anyone, anywhere, without wires getting in the way. But what the gadget didn't know was that a new, younger model was approaching, and that this new model was only the beginning...

When the first mobile phones appeared commercially available, they resembled something you'd build a house with rather than a tool for communication. Gradually, as the technology got more advanced, phones got smaller and the list of features got bigger.

A mobile phone used to be a status symbol, owned and flaunted only by the businessman, or the rich and famous. Nowadays, thanks to massive price cuts, nearly everyone can own one if they want to. Gone are the days when you'd see a suited fellow strolling down the street yelling into a big grey brick a lÃ? Trigger Happy TV. Now the streets are full of people who, at first glance, seem to be having a very intense conversation with the palm of their hand.

And they aren't just used for talking anymore. Text messaging was the first extra feature on the horizon, after which came games, then polyphonic ringtones, then mp3 ringtones, then cameras, videos, satellite navigation...Mobile phones have now evolved into vast multimedia systems, all contained in a tiny bit of plastic and metal.

The prices, rather than going up to match all these extra features, actually seem to be dropping. Even the cheap mobile phones now have the basic features like mp3 playback and a decent camera. A top of the range phone can set you back around ?400, but you can get a perfectly good model for a quarter of that.

You pay less for a phone if you buy it on contract as opposed to part of a pay as you go package. On a contract you are, in a way, renting the phone off the company, and paying a monthly sum for its usage, but with PAYG you are purchasing the phone outright. Some prefer this option as it means they can switch networks by getting the phone unlocked, if they want to, and they can change their phone at any time. But for those who can't afford a relatively large sum outright, a contract may be the best option.

So what's next for the mobile phone? Are there any features left for manufacturers to add? If there are, there's one thing for sure: they'll be smaller.

Cell Phones
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