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Where Now For Mobile Phones?

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The stats are in for CeBIT 2006: seven days, 6,262 exhibitors, 310,412 square metres of space and half a million visitors from which we’ve bought you over 30 pages of articles and nearly 15,000 words of text. It has been epic, people.

That said during these final few hours of the show’s last day I’ve managed to massage the writers cramp from my fingers and attack my well worn keyboard one more time to bring you some closing thoughts and a couple of irreverent pictures.

Thinking back to my CeBIT introduction this year I said I expected it to be the year of High Definition and wow was it ever but I can also add an area I feel will be an annual obsession: mobile phones. It seems technical trade shows are now just as suitable ground for the latest handsets as dedicated events like 3GSM and so they should be considering they are fast converging with every area of modern technology. Nothing is safe from networking to hard drives, graphics cards to digital cameras, PC software and applications to navigation.

In addition, with each product generation it becomes increasingly difficult to know under which category to file the story. When something takes 10 megapixel digital photographs is it primarily a phone or camera? When it runs Windows and packs an 8GB HDD is it a PDA? When it is primarily built for music is it a handset or an MP3 player? The common factor appears to be that if it makes voice calls just keep calling it a mobile phone.

I’m no longer sure that is still the most accurate technical description but it helps to simplify customer thoughts about a vast range of devices which are anything but then fair dues. Even if no-one can deny the modern handset is evolving into an indispensable part of our everyday lives. At this moment in time I may still fear losing my laptop more than my mobile, but in a few years I’m sure this will no longer be the case.

The information stored on them will be the same vital Word documents, secret Excel files and internal company emails so surely the next challenge manufacturers fact after seeking to give us all this functionality will be finding the best means to protect it. Expect fingerprint and retina scanners in next years models along with remote protection provided by a new rash of Tracker-esque security companies. That is my prediction…

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