Lots of news coming out of the Mobile World Congress.
Big news from Microsoft is the Windows Phone 7 Series announcement.
Throwing everything that has gone before, everything is brand new, and from first impressions this appears to be a good move from Microsoft and a response to the iPhone (and possibly Google’s Android too).
No more Start button, no more replicating the Windows desktop on a mobile device. I never thought that replicating the desktop on a mobile device was ever a sustainable idea. Yes those familiar with the desktop interface *may* find it comforting, but as I did with previous versions of Windows Mobile, once you get going with the mobile device the limitations of a desktop interface start to annoy you.
Apple decided with their iPhone (and with the new iPad) to specifically not replicate the OS X desktop interface, but use a new interface, one that works well and for most people is pretty intuitive.
So what else does Windows Phone 7 Series offer. It’s interface has many similarities with the Zune (the Microsoft music player that isn’t available in the UK). It’s been kept very simple, no gloss here, no shine, though transitions are smooth and elegant.
The world hasn’t passed Microsoft by, they have realised that the Xbox is popular with gamers and that social networking is quite a big thing. As a result both these features are embedded into the phone.
So how will this fare in the competitive marketplace for modern smartphones? We’ll have to wait and see…
A number of companies at the Mobile World Congress are demonstrating hardware they think will make up so-called fourth generation or 4G solutions to succeed the current 3G technology.
The explosion of interest in mobile broadband – and consumers’ insatiable craving for faster connections – means that this more forward-looking part of the industry is filled with contenders.
In the UK, the highest mobile broadband speed available is 7.2 megabits per second (Mbps), and Vodafone has successfully trialled a 3G network in Spain providing 20Mbps.
It makes for interesting reading, and also makes you realise how far we have come in the last five years and how far we will probably go in the next five years.
When I first used 3G back in 2004, it was a £100 a month and I got 0.3Mbps (as in 384Kbps). Today I pay £10 per month and get (rarely) 7.2Mbps, though on average it is about 3Mbps. Ten times the speed for one tenth of the price.
If we go back to 2001, I was then using GPRS and getting about 40Kbps.
Personally for me, having a 3G connection makes my life and my job so much easier. I can do things and stuff at events and conferences, on visits to other institutions, in coffee shops and on the train. It allows me to get information, entertainment and to communicate whilst I am mobile. If our learners have 3G this makes it even easier to allow their learning not just to take place anywhere, but with 3G they can communicate and collaborate with other learners without the constraints of geography and time.
So though LTE quotes 100Mbps, I do expect in five years to see 30Mbps mobile internet connections. The question you do have to ask though is will it cost only a £1 per month?