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Published:November 26th, 2007 06:26 EST

Cell Phones of Tomorrow, Today

By George Gildersleeve

We`ve come a long way since the $3,500 Motorola "DynaTAC` cell phone that weighed a mere 1.9 pounds and had about as many features as a brick. We`re in a time when our cell phones are an integral part of our lives and function as phones, GPS devices, music players and much more.

Cell phone technology has evolved at a mind-shattering pace since the 1980s, moving from a 2-pound cell phone to having mobile phones weighing as little as 48g. To put this in perspective, the "brick` phone weighed 861.8 grams.

With so many advanced cell phones on the market, many people are in utter confusion about what all the cell phone terms mean and how or why it would affect them. In the next paragraphs, I will try to explain some of the cell phone lingo to help bring understanding to consumers as to what they need and why.

One of the biggest and most important features in cell phones today is Bluetooth. Bluetooth technology is named after a 10th century Danish king who unified warring tribes in his kingdom. The name of this technology is derived from this unification and is a technology to unify different devices wirelessly. There are many Bluetooth enabled devices that can be used with today`s cell phones. Cell phones today can communicate with wireless hands-free devices, computers and even other phones. Bluetooth technology is an important and innovative technology that allows wireless connectivity from your phone to a vast amount of devices.

Another big feature in cell phones isn`t necessarily a new concept, but one that has advanced greatly in the last few years; namely, having a camera/video camera built into a cell phone.

The first cell phone camera was introduced to the United States in 2002 and has advanced a long way since then. Phones are being developed and released now with up to 10 megapixels! This means that when a picture is taken with the phone, there are 10 million dots that make up the picture. Consider that, just a couple of years ago, it was amazing to have 5 megapixels in a digital camera. Most cell phones that are out right now have about 2 megapixels which is nothing to scoff at.

Cell phones are also becoming widely used as music players and are supporting microSD cards to hold music for playback through the phone`s speakers or through headphones plugged into the phone.

Custom ringtones have been a possibility for a few years now, but phones haven`t been really accessible to this feature until very recently. There is a wide array of phones that are also made for listening to music, most notably is probably the LG VX8500 or the "Chocolate` from Verizon. Since the success of the Chocolate, many companies are now producing cell phones that can function well as music players.

Another area where cell phones are really advancing is Internet browsing. When you think of Internet on a cell phone, you probably think of a slow interface and something that looks nothing like a web page on your computer. This isn`t entirely the case anymore with cell phones like Apple`s iPhone and LG`s Voyager. With these phones, and no doubt more to come, you can view Internet on your phone that looks and acts just like using the internet on your computer. I believe that phones in the near future are going to incorporate this feature and use it with its great potential.

When you look at phones like LG`s "enV`, you see that it has a "QWERTY` keyboard. This feature is surprisingly new. As you probably know, a QWERTY keyboard is just a keyboard that has a layout exactly like the one on your computer keyboard. With a phone that has this feature, text messaging is made much easier as is entering any information into your phone. Cell phone service providers are now offering plans that have unlimited text messaging which makes having a QWERTY keyboard much more useful.

Many cell phones now feature built-in GPS systems which give you driving directions to any address where you want to be. GPS works by using satellites to locate you. One satellite will give information of your vertical position and another for your horizontal position. Newer GPS even give elevation by using another satellite to find out your position in respect to sea level. GPS phones give drivers a huge advantage when they need to get somewhere and don`t want to get lost.

Now to some phone service information.  You may have heard commercials talking about how good their GSM network is. GSM is the type of service in use to communicate your information and can ultimately affect call quality. GSM is the international standard for cell phones which means that you can take your phone to another country, buy a cell phone service there, switch out a card in your phone and use their service where you are. Another protocol used is CDMA which has better call quality than GSM, but doesn`t have the international possibilities as it is a lesser used technology.

The final aspect I`ll cover is your phones megahertz and now more prominently gigahertz frequency. These numbers let you know what frequency your cell phone operates on. In most situations a higher frequency will have better quality. As long as you don`t have electronic devices with a radio frequency that is exactly the same as your cell phone, you shouldn`t have any problem with interference from other devices that would normally cause interference with other radio frequency products.

I hope that now you have a better understanding of some of the more common cell phone features. Technology will always keep advancing and changing with newer and better things coming out, and cell phone technology is no exception. Most of these features will be around for a very long time, but exact specifications and the like will always be changing. Now you are armed with the information you`ll need next time you buy a cell phone.



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