We had seen it coming, but it has finally happened. The world is jumping off the desktop, off the laptop and into the palm of your hand.

According to the Mobile World Congress held in the Catalan city of Barcelona last February, the days of the cell phone being used primarily for audio communications are long gone, though it still remains the mainstay of use for the device. However, the exponential increase in computing power of the phones, plus the availability of applications made exclusively for mobile devices has created an unprecedented market for intelligent devices.

Everything from computing tablets to smart phones are now being used to not just talk, but live an online life, maintain lines of communications, manage finances, pay bills, listen to music, watch movies and just about anything that we are doing with the help of our regular day-to-day computer, and more.

Twitter is yet another form of new-age communication. During his keynote address at the Congress, Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo said that 40 per cent of tweets now come from mobile platforms. He said that the service needed ‘deeper integration’ in smartphones as well as to extend how it was made available to more basic phones.

Twitter now regularly carries 130 million tweets a day and during major events, such as the football World Cup can see upwards of 3,000 tweets a second, Costolo said. The record, he revealed, was 6,000 tweets per second in Japan at New Year's Eve.

Tablet wars are well on their way, too. Samsung has stolen the lead over Apple when it launched the Galaxy S II. We now have sharper display, bigger screen and a much better resolution camera, coupled with the latest version of Android, Gingerbread 2.3 OS. The result, Apple announced that it was releasing the next version of its iPad, which is now out in the market.

Another mobile technology maker, Nokia, has joined hands with Microsoft to work together and bring out the next killer mobile device. The shotgun marriage was also deemed necessary considering that both the companies are witnessing their domination of the computing world slip away by more aggressive competitors.

Android, with its various versions, continues to be the most favoured OS. It has already overtaken Symbian to become the top smartphone platform. Android phones in the fourth quarter of 2010 was 33.3 million, compared to 31 million Symbian phones, 16.2 million Apple phones, 14.6 million RIM devices and 3.1 million Microsoft phones.

Another new trend that we should look forward to is cross-platform gaming on Android and Tegra devices, which will allow players to team up in games to play across PlayStation 3, PC and mobile platforms. Judging by its popularity amongst mobile technology developers, it’s no wonder that a new version of Android is just around the corner. There is talk that it will be named Ice Cream!

Speaking of 3D, phones too have the techie world buzzing. During the Congress, LG announced its Optimus 3D, a dual-channel, dual-core and dual-memory smartphone with 3D capabilities. Amazing is the fact that no glasses are needed to view the 3D images. But it first needs to clear up a few issues which include holding the handset very steadily in front of your face to get the 3D effect; serious questions over eye strain and exactly how much impact the 3D technology has on battery life.

And finally, the veil over 4G networks has unveiled.

Nokia Siemens Networks talked of planned rollouts this year across the world, while devices like the Samsung Galaxy S II are equipped for HSPA+ speeds, and the GSM Association has been touting the growing number of HSPA connections.

Buzz is already moving from, “We will be introducing 4G networks” to, “We are introducing 4G networks”. Probably by next year, it could be, “We have introduced 4G networks”.

Overall, the global smartphone market grew 89 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2010, as compared to 2009, exceeding 100 million units for the first time. The push for a world on the go is definitely on.


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