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Five ways smartphones have changed our lives

TECHNOLOGY: Smartphones

TECHNOLOGY AND and the way we use it has changed completely over the last few years. Tech has never been such an integral part of our daily lives as it is now, helping us to work, commute, socialise and even survive.

One particular piece of technology that is now at the very forefront of our existence is the smartphone. Staying in touch whilst on the go isn’t a particularly new feature, but having a cutting edge microcomputer in your pocket that is more powerful than some laptops certainly is.

We've taken a look at some of the ways in which smartphones have changed our lives and how they will to make life easier as technology and software continue to develop.

How we stay in touch

A call or a text message were the two options that mobile phone users had before the days of 3G, but now we have a plethora of ways to speak with friends or communicate with our colleagues. WhatsApp revolutionised text messaging, building on existing web based texting applications and adding the ‘group chat’ feature which is now a common element of most social circles.

Skype had a pretty good go at bringing VoIP to the masses, but most phones now support internet calls to help users to speak with people over Wi-Fi and mobile internet connections.

How we pay for things

With cash on the way out and credit / debit cards now the preferred way of paying for items on the go, Apple and Android pay have taken things to the next level by allowing consumers to use their mobile phone with contactless pay points. We may eventually reach a point where all banking and monetary transactions are handled by smart devices, removing problems like counterfeit money and stolen wallets or purses.

How we play games

When the first iPhone hit shelves back in 2007, the app store became something of a gamer’s paradise, with hundreds of cool little distractions overhauling mobile gaming completely. Now, we have puzzle games like Candy Crush generating revenue in the billions and 3D console conversions that are powered by Nano processors and integrated graphics cards built into our phones.

One of the biggest benefactors of improved technology in mobile phones is the gambling industry. Better portability and accessibility over mobile internet has allowed gamblers to play more often, without having to visit a casino or sit at a computer.

Online poker sites offer a selection of games designed for mobile, allowing players to enjoy a quick game anywhere, anytime.

How we take photos

It’s almost laughable to think we used to spend lots of money on a camera, before having to take a film to be developed and only then realising how hard it is to take good photos.

The cameras found on the latest smartphones are now pretty phenomenal, making larger SLRs and frankly old fashioned digital cameras look severely outdated. With built in photo editing software, ever increasing megapixel numbers and capabilities like HDR and photo stitching, mobile phones are have been slowly killing off the camera over the last few years.

How we work

Emails made intra-office memos obsolete years ago, but the way we share and access documents is changing completely as offices become more mobile friendly. BYOD (bring your own device) is a movement that is allowing business’ to communicate with employees and increase productivity by allowing workers to use their phones to do work tasks and software like Dropbox and Evernote allow projects and documents to be shared without the need for any files to be downloaded.

Mixing cloud technology with the fact that phones allow workers to be constantly online has allowed the working day to shift dynamically, with remote working and out of hours responses allow for quicker task completion.

The future

With phones become slimmer, more powerful and faster, it seems nailed on that they will begin to replace even more everyday items. From train tickets to identification, we are already seeing more physical things ‘going digital’, leaving us even more reliant on mobile technology than we already are. The big question however is whether batteries will eventually last more than 12 hours if we continue to do everything on our phones...

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