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Oh, The Places Phones Will Go!


    Do you remember your first cellphone?  Well, depending on your age, you might have had a cellphone so large it needed a pouch of its own.  And if you got your cellphone in the 1990s, most of your friends probably didn’t have one – so no one to call, and you were most likely lugging map books to navigate your way around town because GPS wasn’t yet even a twinkle in wireless innovation. Yet, you were excited about the possibility of communicating from anywhere!


    When the mobile phone debuted in 1973 . . .



    It was expensive and a chore to keep with you – you paid a hefty price as an early adopter. Taking your phone with you meant carrying it in a bag designed specifically for it that included the battery. If it didn’t weigh 20 lbs, it sure felt like it. Not only was the initial price beyond most people’s budget, but charges and roaming were fees expensive. And unless you carried your roaming code book with you and registered your phone immediately when in the area, those fees tacked on quickly.


    Over time, phones shrunk, making them less expensive and easy to carry.  But, there was a tradeoff.  The Motorola PT550 fit in your purse or glove compartment, but the talk time on a charge was a mere 30 minutes.  The very popular and thin Motorola Razr was available in many colors and finishes, and even came with a lanyard so you could wear it around your neck.  But it was still only good for one thing – talking.  And that awesome talk time cost a pretty penny.




    Fast forward to the late 90’s . . .

    We welcomed the advent of phones and other portable devices with full keyboards.  While primarily used for business, they were a quick, efficient and cheaper way to communicate without the need for a real-time connection.  Companies like Blackberry and Palm evolved this trend, adding more functionality for the business customer, like the ability to securely check email and surf the web. But personal mobile phones were mostly flip, bar or slider phones that continued to focus on talking, with the occasional text message.



    Hello Android!

    In the mid -2000s, it all changed.  A small US company debuted an open-source operating system for phones called Android, which made it easier to deliver to consumers some of the functionality previously only available to Blackberry and Treo business users.  Use of the internet boomed.  Everyone had an email account.  Communication was infectious. Samsung, LG, Motorola, HTC and others sold phones with larger color screens dubbed “smartphones” on which people could not only call, text and surf the web, but also enjoy music, TV and games.  Apple soon introduced the first iPhone, making smartphones more accessible to a larger majority of consumers. With the iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S Android smartphones and others, the majority of us carried a smartphone in a pocket or purse. 


    Today . . .

    We do just about everything with phones these days. Cellphones are more powerful than ever. They can be charged on the fly, and give us the power to have our camera, music player, TV, gaming console, encyclopedia and much more in our pocket.  


    What could the next evolution of devices bring?

    • Camera Technology: Expect to see even better camera technology, DSLR-like technology, with periscopic zoom so anyone can pretend to be a professional photographer. 
    • Virtual Travel: Expect to travel without moving.  No, I don’t mean time-travel or teleportation, but mobile virtual reality is nipping at our heels.  Imagine sitting in a room but hearing the surf and seeing sun and sand all around you like you are at the beach.  Can’t you just smell the salt air?  Or walking into a business and your smartphone automatically starts charging, through the air – or via sunlight. 
    • Iris and Facial scanning to unlock your phone will replace fingerprint entry, combined with heart rate scanning for multi-layer security checks.  We already see this in devices like the recently launched Samsung Galaxy S8.
    • Flexible Screens: Bendable or foldable screens so your screen is big when you want, and smaller when you don’t. 
    • We have smart watches today, some that you can even make and receive phone calls from without carrying your phone.  Ready for a smart ring or smart bracelet that can do the same thing? 
    • Also expect more in location-based and people based messaging.  Think reminders, or even people and location based reminders, but stronger and better. 


    These are just a few of the innovations we see and expect in the coming years. We here at Cricket are always on the lookout for the most simple and affordable ways to bring innovation to our customers!