The mobile phone is arguably one of man’s best innovations. Its evolution is also one of the finest case studies on how fast technology can change.
While the mobile phone was invented as a crucial tool for communication, the main aim was to create portability. Traditional phones were cumbersome gadgets that were hardly movable.
And then came the first mobile phones, which were only communication gadgets at firest. You could call and text but nothing else.
With time, improvements in software and hardware development and internet connectivity have changed the phone from being just a communication device. Some careers even allow the complete execution of tasks on mobile phones.
It has to be a smartphone, but unlike in years past when smartphones were a preserve of the affluent few, affordable and efficient smartphones are now available in the market as manufacturers compete to produce what is within reach of majority of users.
And with numerous applications being developed to enable people to execute different tasks using their phones, the mobile app store now looks like a shop for tools one could use for a variety of tasks they could not execute using the older phones.
Enterprise explores some of the things you can do with the phone:
Meetings changed completely with the coming of Covid-19, with companies prioritising the use of Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other online platforms. This was to prevent physical meetings as person-to-person interaction was discouraged by health officials to minimise the spread of the virus.
Meetings had to go on, as did schooling. Online classes were conducted through the same platforms.
Many participants only needed a phone and mobile data to connect. Some chaired meetings from the comfort of their beds, even in pyjamas.
This is different from past years when videoconferencing was only for corporations and was limited to the boardroom. Now, in just moments, on a smartphone, a user will download an application that they can use for their upcoming meeting and sign in.
Some of these platforms offer very high-quality sound and video.
E-commerce was widely seen as the new order in business once Covid-19 came. Although it had been in existence for years, it was accelerated by the decline of physical buying and selling due to movement restrictions.
Now e-commerce firms have revamped their apps, allowing customers to shop. Once a customer has downloaded the app, they can make their orders and pay to await delivery.
On social media, where people selling goods can also create business accounts to interact with their customers, including negotiation of prices. Anyone interested in selling anything just needs a social media presence and interactions on the platforms, which smartphones support.
With mobile phones whose cameras offer high-quality images, content creators can shoot crisp videos that are good enough for consumption by the public. On the app store, they can also access applications that can be used to edit videos to the desired lengths and qualities.
One of the main features that phone makers consider while manufacturing their gadgets is camera quality. In an era of social media where people love to take and post photos and videos regularly, even those who are promoting products can use mobile phones to take high-quality images that they can post for their customers.
Others will just take a photo for record keeping. For this, the smartphone is a priceless gadget.
Another feature of smartphones is that they link users to many sources of entertainment. On an app store, users can download games that will keep them engaged or applications such as beat-makers that could help them create music. This happened a lot during the pandemic.
Others downloaded fitness apps and kept in shape.
Also, connection to the web means that one can also access all the videos and movies they are interested in. They could also watch movies on Netflix on their smartphone. The era of dependence on TV and computers at the cyber café for audiovisual entertainment is long gone!
Probably Google and other search engines should take a lot of the plaudits here - as they could claim in several other areas mentioned earlier - but then even with Google and without the mobile phone, many people could not access the wealth of information that should be openly available to all and sundry.
With a smartphone, though, one can access all the books that they might desire to read. The internet is awash with educational videos that students use as tutorials to help better understanding of a subject.
Every day is a new opportunity to learn and the internet never runs out of content. And many students who do not have laptops but can afford smartphones are beneficiaries of such information.
Gone are the days when the newspaper vendor was the most treasured person in every estate. He carried all the news of the day and without him little was known.
But now, with an e-paper app, for example for The Standard Group, and with just a fraction of the amount one would pay for the newspaper, it is possible to read the paper hours before the vendor has set his eyes on the headline.
Further, one can access multiple articles from their phone by either checking out stories on the internet or downloading their apps.
Nothing defines the current generation quite as much as social media. This is an era in which people want to be present on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms, seeing and being seen and getting a taste of the latest gossip and every other trend.
And smartphones make that possible. Imagine having to wait until you settle to log into your Twitter account. Now, with such portable phones at any time, users can be online, sharing with “friends” and rebuking those not so friendly from wherever they are on the globe.