One cannot stop wondering how life would be in the past, especially with the advent of modern technologies that have emerged in the world just recently. These rampant technologies are thought to be the mother of modern technological era where life seems to be easier and exciting than ever.
Modern generations, especially those who were born in the last two decades when the development of modern technologies was at its threshold, would find it hard to imagine how people managed to communicate with each other at a distance one hundred years ago. The Impact of modern technology has been felt in almost all sectors of life, including in the vast field of communication.
This is evident in the current world where the power of mobile phones and other mobile devices has completely changed the way we interact and communicate with each other in life. As a matter of fact, mobile phone devices, which are in use allover the world, have taken over each and every aspect of the current society.
As it would be observed, the mobile phone is arguably the most developed device today as far as communication technology is concerned.
From the bulky radio-like devices of the past to the slimy, handy smart phones of the modern day, mobile phone devices have come a long way to make our lives more comfortable (Raento & Oulasvirta 2009). In regard with mobile phone technology, this paper examines the growing use of smart phones in the world, and the kind of impact these types of phones have on people’s lives.
What is a Smart Phone?
As it would be observed, there are various definitions for a smart phone, depending on the phone’s model, shape, and features, among other key aspects. All these definitions, however, appear to associate the devices with computers, identifying them as mobile phone devices that combine both telephony and computing applications and services.
In this regard, smart phones are types of phones having in-built computer applications or features, which are normally characterized by high computing capabilities. Just like computers, smart phones are build into special features and applications that would be certain to make their users remain fully engaged to modern forms of entertainment as if they were near computers (Zheng & Ni 2006).
Some of the common features and applications of most smart phones include, but are not limited to, high-resolution touch screens, high-resolution cameras, video and media players, GPS navigation accessibility, web browsers, and high-speed access of data. Just like computers, recent versions of smart phones can run add-on programs and be able to update software, thus giving users the potential to be more productive in various grounds of accountability.
This special characteristic, however, makes smart phones more useful to current generations who are eager to explore and experience every bit of modern technology. The rapid abundance of new innovations in the mobile phone industry has added more exclusive features on these gadgets, making them the most popular electronic devices in the world.
Types of Smart Phones
There are different types of smart phones in the market today. These differences are mainly determined by aspects such as their models, in-built applications, the operating systems used by the devices, and the manufacturing companies behind their development. Some of the common types of smart phones available in the world include Apple Iphone, BlackBerry Tour, and Samsung Galaxy.
As it would be observed, all these types of smart phones differ greatly in terms of their functionality and the type of applications they use, among other aspects. Below are individual summaries for each of the smart phones types highlighted above, whereby their varied functionality and the types of application they use are of much concern.
Just as the name suggests, this is a 3G smart phone which is owned and developed by Apple Inc. The development of the iPhone begun way back in the year 2004, but it was not until at the beginning of 2007 when this superb mobile device was finally unveiled to the public by Steve Jobs, the then CEO for the company, (Low & Pittaway 2008).
IPhone models come in generations, and currently, there are six of these generations. One special feature which makes this device exclusive is its ability to allow users to engage their friends and family in live video chats directly from the gadgets. Other common special features associated with the iPhone include video shooting, accessibility of the internet, sending as well as receiving emails, playing music, and ability to receive visual voicemail.
The phone is enhanced by various add-ons that give users the ability to access and explore Apple Application Store right from the phone’s memory and the internet. The latest versions of the iPhone have come with modified features and improved applications thus giving people improved access of the vast world of entertainment. These include, but are not limited to, a widened display, an 8MP iSight camera, and a faster chip.
Coupled with their thin and light design, all these impressive features have placed the iPhone in the list of the most valued phones in the world. This explains the resounding sales of these phones that are observed allover the world nowadays.
This is a mobile phone device which is designed and marketed by Research In Motion. The device would make its first appearance into the global markets in the mid of 2002. One important thing to note about this phone is that, it is part and parcel of the 9600 device series.
Some of the key features associated with this phone include Operating system, GPS navigation, media player, 3.2-megapixel camera, GPRS/ EDGE/ GSM capability, QWERTY keyboard, 3G data overseas, high-capacity audio jack, Bluetooth connectivity, and a memory card slot, among other special features.
The Tour is also widely acclaimed for its outstanding battery life and access to the device’s Application World which comprises of a vast array of downloadable programs and software.
This is an Android smart phone which is designed and marketed by Samsung Electronics. First released in the market in mid 2010, Galaxy is the latest version of Samsung mobile phone series. Ever since its release into the global markets slightly over two and half years ago, the gadget has won several compliments and awards from various associations, possibly owing to its unique features and specifications.
This recognition has fetched Samsung Galaxy series an international acclaim, thus making them one of the most sold smart phones globally.
Some of the common in-build features of Samsung Galaxy include a multi-touch capacity screen, microphone, QWERTY keyboard, ambient light sensors, headphone jack, both rear and front facing VGA cameras, memory card slot, accelerometer, FM radio, and magnetometer. Samsung Galaxies are also known for their support for various multimedia file versions and formats.
Impact of Smart Phones on People’s Lives
As it would be observed, the impacts of these modern devices on our lives are far-reaching. Survey shows the global demand of smart phones to have risen steadily over the last few years. In fact, the sale of these stylish phones is reported to have outstripped that of conventional phones by large margins in the last two years.
As more people across the world continue to acquire smart phones, the gadgets are becoming essential equipments in people’s lives (Barkhuus & Polichar 2011). No wonder, the devices have become a darling for both the young and adults, with teenagers making a significant impression as the largest possessors of the smart phones.
Unsurprisingly, this is owing to their appetite on addictive social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, among other engaging applications that are accessible through the in-build applications of the smart phones. However, this wide usage of smart phones across the world comes with both positive and negative impacts on humans.
The use of smart phones has helped to break the barriers of distance for international communication through various interactive applications such as the Web and Bluetooth. For instance, people are able to chat with their families and friends directly through interactive applications in their phones.
Some of these social platforms that could be accessible from the smart phones include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn groups, and Google Plus, among other channels of interaction. All these internet applications plays a key role in people’s lives, by enabling them to communicate effectively and exchange important information thus staying connected with each other, irrespective of the geographical barriers between them.
In just another perspective, the use of smart phones positively affects one’s productivity in the work place through a number of ways. For example, people can always load their devices with important mobile applications that would allow them work efficiently without having to rely upon their computers or any other assistive equipment.
Some of these applications include Microsoft Publisher, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Excel, all which play a very important role in our day to day lives in the work place. Two very important aspects about these applications are that; they are user-friendly and inexpensive. This, however, makes them a more convenient way of approaching work.
More importantly, smart phone users can also use online systems such as IBackup and Dropbox to save important information and documents (Zheng & Ni 2010). Apart from working as a backup security for data incase of computer crashes, these systems are also convenient in enabling people gain access to their work-related information while on the go, using their smart phones.
Smart phones with QWERTY designs such as the BlackBerry can also be very important, since they can allow users to type important reports and emails while travelling, even in the absence of their desktop computers or laptops. As a matter of fact, these applications have helped to maintain workforce mobility for regular travelers.
This wise usage of smart phones in handling work-related task away from the office is always certain to make people productive, even while they are stuck in traffic jams or waiting in cues in banks.
Another positive impact of smart phones is that, they have become all-in-one entertainment tools for many people allover the world, owing to their capability to support all types of multimedia format files. People have also used the power of smart phones to share photos and video, among other types of fun stuff, thus keeping each other motivated and entertained.
While it is true that the constant usage of smart phones has helped to improve our lives in various ways, it has also brought bad effects to people’s lives. For instance, reliance on these devices, especially by the teenagers, has contributed to inappropriate use of time as a result of addiction to the devices. The wide array of applications, particularly games, music, video, and the Web, do attract users for entertainment purposes.
This, however, would contribute to wastage of time as people embark on searching for unproductive material and stuff. Relentless use of smart phones has also been linked to a number of health problems (Guo & Wang 2004).
Some good examples here would include muscle disorders, tendons, and spinal disks, resulting from repetitious use of smart phones. The habit of typing on the tiny keypad of a smart phone can also present greater risks of tearing hand muscles.
More importantly, constant use of smart phones has also been linked with marriage issues in modern societies.
Some of the common aspects and habits arising from usage of these interactive devices, and which have contributed to the above issue include; their fast data processing abilities which enables people to send messages unnoticed, the discreet nature of call and messaging systems of the phones, and increased opportunities enabling people to remain attached to social networking sites for long durations through the devices.
Based on these observations, it is arguably clear that smart phones are both a blessing as well as a curse to modern generations.
List of References
Barkhuus, L & Polichar, V 2011, ‘Empowerment through seamfulness: smart phones in everyday life’, Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, vol. 15 no. 6, pp. 629-639.
Guo, C & Wang, H 2004, Smart-phone attacks and defenses, IEEE, New York.
Low, D & Pittaway, A 2008, ‘The ‘iPhone’induction-a novel use for the Apple iPhone’, Pediatric Anesthesia, vol. 18 no. 6, pp. 573-574.
Raento, M and Oulasvirta, A 2009, ‘Smartphones An Emerging Tool for Social Scientists’, Sociological methods & research, vol. 37 no. 3, pp. 426-454.
Zheng, P & Ni, L 2010, Smart phone and next generation mobile computing, Morgan Kaufmann, Burlington, Massachusetts.
Zheng, P & Ni, L 2006, ‘Spotlight: the rise of the smart phone’, Distributed Systems Online, vol. 7 no. 3, pp. 27-33.