The title of this post should have come across your mind at some point and if it hasn’t, well here it is. The telephone, quite popular today has had a striking growth and development story. Now the question that’s going to be on everyone’s minds very soon is ‘what next?’ and if it hasn’t been on your mind by now you probably haven’t mused over a six-camera smartphone recently. When Graham bell made the first phone call way back in 1876, he probably never thought it would turn out to be the global success it is today. Lots of people didn’t believe in the Telephone, like Western Union who quoted “The idea is idiotic in the face of it and we do not recommend its purchase”, well guess who’s cashing cheques for smartphone buyers across the globe today. A very much loud last laugh.
Needless to say, the telephone, if you follow its rise has taken from beady buttons to full on touchscreens and binary like OS to the full on powerful operating systems, we have today like the IOS and Android operating system. Mainly in recent times major updates for the cellphone is actually more of hardware. People were obsessed with ultra thin phones and high display cameras. This is quite different twenty to thirty years ago when cellphones were literally boxes.
Hardware being the major focus at the time of creation and also for a major number of years ahead. The first lights of potential with the smartphone was with the Blackberry in 2002. Now let’s get to the basics and trace the cellphone from the beginning.
The Cellphone at its birth
There’s quite some speculation regarding who created the smartphone as a number of persons have been given the credit mainly Antonio Meucci, Elisha Gray and the popular Alexander Graham Bell. The main focus of creation was the telegraph, linked rather with electrical wires this was used to send messages across hospitals, early banks and the railway system as of the time.
The early history of the telephone is quite obscured with lawsuits and patents been thrown at one another mainly between Graham Bell and Thomas Edison. The latter who created the microphone that provided a strong signal for the telephone. Bell however has been mainly credited for creating the first successful cellphone. In 1878, Graham Bell makes a presentation on the first telephone ever to Queen Victoria.
Graham Bell making the first phone call.
A major breakout of the telephone was the Landline. Quite popular for their rather stationary feature and use in formal settings. With the rise of the internet and global digitalization the production and sale of the landline is a rather stiff market. In Africa, Nigeria, your first occurrence with the landline back in the 80s and 90s was for security purposes. They were commonly installed at a particular location in the home with a microphone situated at the door or gate. Whenever a visitor visits and pushes a button on the microphone the phone in the house rings and whoever is available picks and communicates with whoever is on the other end. Making use of wires, it’s quite similar to the ones used in the early 80s in the west.
The Birth of the Smartphone
The first smartphone is not Blackberry as people commonly think. The first smartphone was actually created by IBM in the year 1992. The name as of the time was the Simmon Personal Computer. Though quite bulky and looking very ancient in lights of today the SPC was actually able to receive faxes, emails and phone calls of course.
Phones as of the time were not connected to the internet and served rudimentary purposes then came in the Blackberry which was announced in 2002. The Blackberry is one of the companies that spearheaded a major part of the smartphone revolution because it was the first phone to feature a qwerty keyboard. The Blackberry was a global frenzy, with features like emailing on the go and its fast user typing due to its trademark keyboard. The first Blackberry ever made was the Blackberry 850.
Things got turned up a notch when in 2007, Steve Jobbs struck a very big dopamine filled syringe in the heart of the smartphone universe with the launch of the iPhone. While the major feature of the Blackberry was its physical Qwerty keyboard, the iPhone had no keys, just full on expanse of interactive touchscreen. At of the time it isn’t the beast as we know it today, ran on 2G and actually needed a PC to be set up. It took five years for Apple to pull the plug on this, making it officially stand alone. The smartphone progression though likened to its newness in the market also paved an age of adding more features to the smartphone.
Software is the future of smartphones, why?
If you look at the growth and development of the smartphone you would quickly notice that it was mainly in design and hardware. The prospects of software were not yet a popular field as of the time. In time we begin to see notable features like crisp cameras (a major trend in the smartphone growth), ultra-thin designs and lesser weight. Then at a point today we can say that there’s a ‘hardware saturation’ with the smartphone. Most features today are not needed. Take for instance the Samsung Galaxy s10. It had a screen resolution of 1440 x 3040 and ~500-pixel density. The highest ppi the human eye can pick is approximately 300. Note that in getting to a point where 500 ppi was created there was a steady development from years back from 100 to 200 then 300, at this point ‘hardware saturation’ hit, smartphone companies not knowing what to do still go ahead to create very high quality displays as they boast that are not visible to the human eye and also not even noticeable. Unless you Netflix and chill with your pet eagle.
What about the camera? There has never been a case of hardware saturation as I call it than with the camera. The iPhone eleven was released having a total of three cameras. While the rest are serving purposes like depth, they are actually pointless. The Nokia pureview has a total of nine cameras, that’s a sign that something is wrong. The smartphone is getting boring. You can take a very good picture still with the iPhone 6 and 7 today. The only hope to salvage the smartphone now is in functionality and development software wise.
Just as features were added back then to the ordinary smartphone this has to be done to the software because that is the only field now with grounds for growth, doing this could also morph the smartphone into something more advanced. We have artificial intelligence on the rise and our phones are being integrated with them. This serves as the current basis of development, the OS. The field of hardware is already saturated. I mean, who wants to see a seven-camera iPhone next year? Just as the development of the telephone-smartphone was majorly in its hardware, The Operating System or rather taking its functionality to the next level. Elon Musk kinda next level to be precise.
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