What are some of your favorite advancements in mobile technology?Anna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
We've all been there. We've all been so frustrated with our shiny new smartphones in one way or another that we just wish we could go back to a simpler time, where all cell phones did were make calls and send a text message or two. You could access the web if you wanted, but that was only as a last resort. Despite all of the limited features of the primitive cell phone, they did have some good qualities about them. Without as much to do, they weren't as time-consuming, and you can't forget about their great battery life. But as nice as those times are to remember, I believe there are more instances where I'm more appreciative of the advancements we've made in mobile technology rather than what we've had to leave behind.
I sat down with a pen and a piece of paper to write down what I thought some of my favorite advancements have been. I tried to avoid the most obvious one, like app stores, because if I didn't like applications I probably wouldn't have a smartphone. Instead, I opted for some smaller qualities about my smartphone that I never necessarily had a chance to voice my appreciation for before now. So without further ado, let's get started.
5. Drop-down notification bar
Notification bars have been around in cell phones for as long as I could remember. Even the colorless LCD displays had a notification bar that let you know whether you missed calls, text messages, alarms, etc. The problem with them was that you still had to go through the motions of clicking on the menu, then click messages, then click on "Inbox" and finally you could click on the message received. It might not seem like a lot when you write it down, and perhaps even then it didn't seem like an issue. But when you put the drop-down notification bar into play, it's easy to see just how much easier it is to pull down the bar and click on the message and be taken right to it, or see who that missed call was from, or check your upcoming events. All the important information is right there for you, and there's no need to go surfing around all the ends of the phone to check each and every one.
Speaking of navigation...
4. Touchscreen navigation
Touchscreen navigation isn't something that's mutually exclusive with smartphones. My first touchscreen device was technically a "feature phone", or a messaging phone, or whatever they call non-smartphone devices with touch screens these days. Either way, it was a real eye-opener to me regarding just how difficult it was to navigate a phone or, more specifically, web pages on a phone that didn't have touch screen navigation. The example that sticks out in my mind is specifically my HTC Snap, a Windows Mobile device that also didn't use a trackpad. I moved the cursor by clicking, clicking, clicking in whatever direction I needed to go until I finally got there. It was a terrible phone, and when I got a touchscreen device shortly after I think I was most appreciative of the fact that navigation of the entire phone was ten times easier. Touchscreens have since only gotten more responsive, so for that I am most appreciative.
3. NFC (Near Field Communication)
Connecting via Bluetooth to transfer files from one phone to another has not always been as easy as one-two-three. In fact, it's still not always that easy. I still have some issues trying to connect to a Bluetooth device. Actually, I stand corrected - the correct Bluetooth device. I swear sometimes my phone just trolls me by picking up random Bluetooth devices, but not the one that I want to connect to. NFC is a lot more efficient at getting the transfer job done, as long as both parties have the right phone. I also find it fascinating that the same technology will allow you to pay at some stores with your phone, or change the channel on your TV. Seriously, NFC is some crazy awesome stuff in my opinion. I see NFC as one of those ground-breaking advancements that still has a lot of room to grow.
2. Threaded text messaging
Okay, this one might seem kind of silly, but I'm not even joking when I say that threaded text messaging is one of those things that I often forget about until I'm put in a situation where I don't have it anymore. During my challenge earlier this year where I tried to switch from a smartphone to a flip phone in order to break my dependence from my smartphone is when I really started missing threaded text messages. There were so many times where there would be several minutes or even hours between texts and I had to scroll back through different conversations to find what in the world we were talking about in the first place. Threaded messages just makes sense, and I for one am so glad that it's pretty much an industry standard at this point.
1. Wireless Charging
Something that I wish we could see more of is wireless charging. Nonetheless, it's still one of my favorite advancements in mobile tech. As more phones come out that support wireless charging, the more I hope that one day it will also become an industry standard, as I think having an easy, alternative way to charge a phone is one of the smarter things that manufacturers could implement in a smartphone. Charging ports are so vulnerable to damage, and the slightest wrong tick can render a phone unable to charge. I do think that wireless charging is certainly one of the more notable advancements in mobile tech today.
Those are just five of the many advancements in mobile technology that I've come to appreciate. Sometimes it's hard to see the little things that are worth mentioning, but when you sit down and think about it, you can pretty much come up with an endless number of ways that modern technology has improved mobile tech.
But now it's your turn to tell us what you think, readers. What are some of your favorite advancements in mobile technology? Share your opinion with us in the comments below!
Image via Extreme Tech