All of these aspects increased the usage levels and acceptance of cell phones.
Third generation or 3G technology refers essentially to the most recent technological innovations in cell phone technology. A distinction should be made however, in that 3G does not refer to a standard in cell phone development but rather to a number of requirements that networks and providers follow. (What is the History of Cell Phones?) the two main requirements for 3G are that they include 2 Megabits of maximum data rate indoors and 384 kbits for outdoor use. (What is the History of Cell Phones?)
The most important aspect of 3G technology is that it allows for the input of much more than the conventional data on 2G cell phones. This aspect has made mobile phones popular and leads to aspects of modern convergence between different communications technologies. In this regard, one can mention the SMS revolution in cell phone communication as well as email and the interaction with web sites and the online world.
This has meant that modern 3G cell phones have entered another level of interaction and communication that makes the modern cell phone a ubiquitous device that is able to deal with many different types and formats of information, including text, video and audio and input as well as output. Given these advances, including the reduced size, increase in battery life and the increased input features, the cell phone has become in recent years an almost indispensable aspect of modern life, especially among the younger generation. In addition the current technologies are improving al the time and streaming radio and TV as well a technologies like WIFI are increasing the popularity and the indispensability of these devices.
Cell phones, society and culture
The modern developments in cell phone technology, as is evident from the above discussion, have advanced beyond merely being a device for ordinary conversations and communication. The impact of cell phones on our lives has therefore extended beyond immediate functionality and they have become an intrinsic part of modern life. The younger generation who have grown up with cell phones, have become dependent on these devices to the extent that they are in many instances a primary mode of interaction and communication with friends and family.
Mobile cell phone technology has also altered the way that the world is perceived. As accessibility and features increase in cell phones, so the world in which most people interact becomes reduced to a small screen; which provides immediate and continual access to relationships, business and work opportunities and entertainment. On the one hand meeting, interacting and obtaining news and knowledge has become much easier than in the past through interfaces and sites like Facebook and others via cell phone.
On the other hand, many psychologists argue that normal interaction between people in society is being replaced by the cellular interface and instant communication over the Internet. This has, they suggest, negative as well as positive outcomes.
The fact that the data types that are transmitted via cell phone technology have increased considerably adds to the depth and potential of mobile phones. For example, email, internet sites, instant video, and TV access over the cell phone have become a reality and these new forms of data have enormous significance for every facet of society and culture - including business and politics.
While exact figures of the number or cell phones or cell phone subscribers in the world are changing all the time, the most recent assessment the of cell phones in existence are staggering. One recognized survey source states that in 2005 the total number of mobile cell phone subscribers exceeded 1.8 billion. (Total mobile subscribers top 1.8 billion). A more recent report suggests that there will be as many as two billion mobile phone subscribers by the end of 2008. (2 billion mobile phones by 2008) it is noteworthy that most of the new cell phone subscribes come from India and China. (Global Mobile Forecasts to 2010-4th Edition)
Another statistic that adds to the overall picture of how the cell phones user base is increasing worldwide, is that in most European countries the market is reaching almost one hundred percent penetration. However, in the rest to the world market penetration is estimated to be only at twenty-eight percent, which means that there are many more potential cell phone subscribers. (Total mobile subscribers top 1.8 billion)
Another indication of the acceptance of mobile technology and the way that it has developed to become an intrinsic part of modern life is the fact that there has been an increase in various aspects of the mobile industry in recent years. For example, there as been a radical increase in the profitability of the mobile services market. Reports from research firms like Research and Markets, state that the Indian mobile services market alone was worth $11.2 billion at the end of 2006. Another report has estimated that the Indian cell phone market will exceed $25 billion by 2011. (the Indian Mobile Services Market Was Worth $11.2 Billion at the End of 2006)
An important aspect are the ongoing reports about the increased adoption of services such as streamed video and audio chat, which has been increased by the move towards 3G technology. This not only adds greater depth to the cell phone experience but is also indicative the way in which the cell phone environment is expanding. A report from ABI Research indicates that the market value for mobile video telephony services including video mail, video calling and video sharing, will grow from $1 billion in 2007 to over $17 billion by 2012. (Revenues from Mobile Video Telephony and Messaging Services to Exceed $17 Billion by 2012) This also refers to the advent of Web 2.0 and the increase in video demand that is being viewed online and on cell phones.
One of the main aspects of the popularity of mobile devices is the increase in the ease of messaging and SMS usage. This has also advanced from plain text to more sophisticated and interactive forms of messaging; which includes video and audio - thereby again expanding the appeal and the interactive attraction of the modern mobile technology. It is interesting to note in this regard forecasts from reputable research firms like Gartner that "...2.3 trillion messages will be sent across major markets worldwide in 2008, a 19.6% increase from the 1.9 trillion messages in 2007" (2 Trillion Mobile Messages in 2008).
Broadband is another associated technology that has affected the accessibility and acceptability of mobile usage. With increased broadband availability in countries like India where there is a burgeoning population, the mobile internet has become the area of the greatest growth. (Mobile Internet users 14 times more than the broadband users)
Taking into account this rapid and extreme growth in cell phone technology the question is often asked - what are the social and cultural implications of these developments?
In the first instance the answer is that they are extremely positive with regard to the ease of use and the access to mobile facilities and features, which has increased dramatically since the early days of cell phone development.
However, with the emergence of the 3G improvements in this technology, cell phones were taken to an entirely new plane of access and influence. With the introduction of new data formats such as messaging and video, the appeal of mobile phones has increased as can be seen from the statistics quoted above. Mobile phones in the last ten years have become much more than a simple devices for contacting others. Cellular phones have in fact created an "environment" in which the user can live and indulge in relationships, entertainment and business.
The economic benefits of mobile technology are also evident from the above discussion. The vibrant cell phone industry creates work and employment for thousands around the world. Many people use the cell phone to work at any hour of the day. In this sense, the cell phone has changed working habits and the conventions of working place and time. The latest cell phone technology has also opened up new business possibilities and entrepreneurs make use of the myriad features of this technology to initiate and manage business online. Therefore, cell phones are changing the habits of centuries and creating new ways of thinking and working online.
A good example of the way that movie cell phones are changing the way we act and interact is in politics. Political candidates and parties make use of the Internet and cell phones to canvas and convey their message and polices.
However, while there are many positive aspects to this new technology there are also those pundits who point to certain warning signs. There is concern that while this new technology is advantageous in many respects, it can also have less attractive social and cultural ramifications. This can be…