Feature Article

May 24, 2014

Mobility TechZone Week in Review

As computing power becomes more powerful, much more can fit into small mobile packages. Today's smartphones pack roughly the same power as a laptop computer did less than a decade ago, and this technology is constantly used in new and exciting ways to entertain as well as innovate. New business and consumer uses for mobile devices are constantly sprouting up, and as a result the sales and usage of these devices are increasing dramatically. Just the past week has been witness to several big changes within the field, and some of the top headlines are discussed below.

Mobile handsets have been popular for nearly 20 years now, but the recent explosion in power has drastically changed the face of mobile phone technology. A new study, conducted by Counterpoint, has found that approximately 87 percent of American handset phones in use are considered smartphones. Most of these devices are made up of Apple products, but that could be changing in the near future. While the company secured nearly 37 percent of first quarter phone sales in 2014, Android still beat them out with just over 59 percent of sales.

Meanwhile, several mobile carriers have begun to support emergency text services through 911. There are several critics of text-to-911 services since it seems like it would be easier to just call, yet there are actually several reasons why this is a critical feature of the modern age. For example, there are several emergency situations where speaking out loud to a 911 operator is impossible or downright dangerous in the wrong company, as well as the fact that many of today's children and teenagers are much more comfortable typing a message than speaking one in a high-stress situation. It also reduces the chance of being misheard, and although calling would probably be easier 99 times out of 100, the one time when it's relevant could mean the difference between life and death for someone.

In other, more light-hearted news, Tangible Play's Osmo hardware for the iPad is currently in development, and boasts that it will bring simple virtual reality and alternative reality gaming into the real world. By sliding the Osmo system over the iPad's front-facing camera, a built-in mirror array combines with Reflective Artificial Intelligence to create a series of games that uses real world objects as elements of games and puzzles. One physics game even has users manipulate the environment around them to roll around several virtual balls, guiding them from one place to another.

Airplanes have traditionally been an electronics-free zone for mobile phones, but the recent popularity of mobile devices has led to looser restrictions, including the rising trend of in-flight Wi-Fi. GoGo is one of the most popular providers of this service, and the company has recently partnered with Apigee to develop mobile apps specifically designed for use in planes by both passengers and crew. These apps help show current locations, allow family and friends to track flights, and much more.

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