There are few exciting new phones on the market, per se, but there are some exciting ideas. These include phones that project, a Nokia laptop, and an entirely Google designed phone. None of these are as fully developed as the iPhone, but there are other innovations happening besides touch screens.
Modern phones are as powerful as computers, but they still lack the big screens. One obvious solution is for phones to project. The LG Expo is a phone which throws a 120 inch image onto a wall or screen. It’s not High Definition and doesn’t perform well in bright light. It’s also ugly and first gen and I wouldn’t buy one. Still, as Pico Projectors get cheaper, better and more prevalent they’ll become built into phones.
Phones are becoming computers, but computers can also become phones. My main computer is an Advent 4213, a Chinese made ‘netbook’. This little computer is largely unremarkable, but it has a slot for a SIM card behind the battery. I put a Dialog data connection in there and I have fast Internet all over this little island. This laptop is also dead cheap at abour Rs. 50,000 ($500).
Nokia is getting into this market with their Booklet 3G. It has much higher specs (and price) than mine, but it is interesting because this is the first netbook from a (primarily) phone company. In time I think any device (iPod, camera) will come with a SIM card for connectivity over 3G/4G cellular networks.
image via Gizmodo
There have been phone’s running Google’s Android operating system for years, but the first one designed by Google is now in the works. My dad has a Google phone made by HTC which is pretty cool. I’ve used it an Android isn’t revolutionary as software, but it is an evolutionary platform.
If phones get an operating system they become more like PCs, with a subsequent increase in what we now call ‘Apps’, as if Apple invented the idea. Apple lost out in the computer world because they insisted on rigid control of everything (hardware, software, channel) while Windows was a more open platform anyone could run.
In the same way, if Android emerges as a more open phone platform then they could take off, even while being less sexy than Apple.
I think this is better because Apple is a bit facist and won’t even really sell to people like here in Sri Lanka (officially, and fully supported). They tie up with specific carriers and don’t sell unlocked phones.
The upcoming Google Nexus One, however, is unlocked and built on open source software. Anyone can buy it, use it, edit the code, write applications, etc. Other manufacturers can also use the operating system for their phones. I think it’s a great idea and I hope it takes off.