Smartphones (and, because of their size, to a lesser extent, tablets) are something that very few futurists or science fiction writers saw coming: most of the benefits of an advanced personal computer but in something so small you can carry it with you wherever you go. Mobile phones have rapidly evolved from bulky, ineffective portable phones, exclusively for the use of government agents and yuppies into a portable phone, messenger, camera, music player, internet browser hybrid with apps that let you do just about anything that PCs can do. It can be something with which you listen to music wherever you go, take photos on the fly, access the internet as you need it and even make and receive phone calls. In short, your Android phone or tablet could be virtually anything you want it to be, meaning that wherever you go, you’re pretty much carrying entire worlds around with you.
For gaming fans everywhere, for example, it can be an entire casino (or gaming arcade) in your pocket. This recommended list of online slots games is only the tip of a very large iceberg that includes everything from realistic virtual table games, online gaming tournaments, online sports betting and, yes, the very latest in video slot games – all of which can be played at your own convenience on your Android phone or tablet.
Music and movie fans (or at least movie fans who could bare to watch an entire film on so small a screen), similarly, get to carry around whole libraries of music and/ or videos to watch or listen to at their discretion. Admittedly, Android’s distinguished competition did take a rather weird step back as they eliminated the headphone port on their latest phones but if you have an Android phone, you can enjoy high quality music either through loading your own digital music library to your phone or making the most of a streaming service like Google Play.
Amateur – and even some professional – photographers can practice their craft too as smart phones have been loaded with increasingly high-resolution cameras that eliminate the need for carrying around bulky equipment. A professional photography setup is still great and probably can’t be beaten by camera phones but it’s one thing to carry around literally bags full of equipment to a professional shoot but it’s quite another if you wish to take photos of your everyday life.
Perhaps the most significant and most easily overlooked case of mobile devices effectively carrying whole worlds within them is their internet functionality. The line in the sand between “smart” and less “smart” phones clearly has everything to do with their ability to connect to the Internet and the speed and efficiency with which they could do so. It’s not just an ability to connect to popular websites but is about connecting your phone, through a number of different sorts of communication channels to the rest of the world.
Once things like 3G were introduced, almost literally the whole world became available to you on a device about a third the size of a paperback novel – which, not un-ironically could also store thousands of novels with plenty of place to spare. Whether you’re looking for information on even the most random of things, want to book a movie, talk face to face with someone half a world away or get directions for where you’re trying to go, you couldn’t just do all this on the go and virtually simultaneously, you could do it without even breaking stride.
It’s a brave new world but who would have thought our phones would be the things to bring us kicking and screaming into it.
|Carrying Worlds Within Worlds in Your Android Device from our JCG partner Francesco Azzola at the Surviving w/ Android blog.