There are certain times in your life when you begin to notice the years running away from you. A few weeks ago I stepped out of my house and found a few of the local kids playing in my garden. One of the boys asked “is it OK if we play in your garden Mr?” I think I was more shocked by the “Mr” reference than I was finding a group of 8 year old children hiding in various locations in my garden. Being called “Mr” at the age of 24 felt pretty depressing as it makes me sound a lot older than I feel and it does not seem that long ago that I was being shouted at by my parents’ neighbours for jumping in their gardens and retrieving wayward footballs!

In a less depressing way, the rapid advances in technology have highlighted the massive changes that have occurred in the last 10 years or so as I have transitioned from a teenager into a “Mr”. When I was attending Sixth Form College in 2002, the first camera mobile phones were launched and the must have phone was a Sharp GX10. Weighing in at 110g grams it featured “wallpapers, 16 ringtones (polyphonic) and 700KB of memory”. All that memory allowed users to store up to 80 digital pictures that had been taken on the 1 megapixel built in digital camera. These specifications look embarrassingly redundant when compared to phones on the market now, but back then this was a major innovation and one so exciting that customers were prepared to shell out £299(!) for the privilege of using it.

   (Sharp GX10 - "Old School")

Fast forward 9 years and things have changed dramatically. The birth of “smart phones” has led to IPhone, Blackberry and Android mobiles that allow their users to film HD videos, surf the internet, do their weekly shop, use 000’s of applications and propel “angry birds” into various structures to brighten up an otherwise dull commuter journey. The progression in technology in the mobile marketplace has been astounding and looks set to continue.

(LG Optimus 3D)

3D has been all the rage at production and technology trade shows over the last few years and LG have been the first mobile phone manufacturer to utilise the re launch of 3D technology in their mobile phone range. This week at the Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona, they launched the first 3D mobile phone, the Optimus 3D. The phone has two 5million megapixel cameras on the back which will enable users to record 3D content directly onto their phone and upload it to YouTube. New developments mean that phone users will not need glasses to view this content in all its glory and can enjoy games, films and phone generated content in full 3D. This is a massive advancement and essential for the success of 3D in this sector as it would be hard to imagine customers pulling out a set of Ray Orbison style 3D specs every time they wanted to use their phone!

The computing power needed for this phone to perform its new tricks is carried out by a 1GHz duel-core processor which is one of the most powerful ever to be found on a mobile device. Aside from the stand out 3D features, the phone can also record full 1080HD footage and connect to external screens and computers using its HDMI port. This is all pretty impressive stuff, but as with 3D TV, it is yet to be seen whether there is a firm demand from consumers for this type of product. This phone is set to go on sale in April 2011 at a cost of just over £500 (sim free).

One thing is for sure, this is a major step up from the good old GX10 and it will be interesting to see what type of phones and devices we will be rushing to the shops for in another decade or so. By then I will be almost 35 and probably have far more serious concerns regarding the rapidly passing years!

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Simon Malone