The term ‘the next big thing’ has been used so many times in recent years especially in relation to new gadgets and developments in the technology industry. Each time one of the major manufacturers releases a new or updated product, the announcement is met with a fanfare across the world and pavements outside stores become cluttered with tents and enthusiastic customers desperate to get their hands on it before anyone else.
While many have been truly astonishing, others have been nothing more than gimmicks that are built up massively during the pre-launch period only to leave us particularly disappointed when they arrive and don’t live up to the hype. Of the various success stories ranging from mobile phones, super-slim computers, the Landa range of nano ink that has transformed printing and marketing, online file sharing in the cloud and music streaming to give a few examples, some have been more influential on our lives than others.
While the London 2012 Olympic motto was ‘inspire a generation’, some of the gadgets and software released onto the market have ‘changed a generation’ making life more entertaining or just simpler – depending on the device of course. One such example is the smartphone. Mobile phones have now been around since the early 1970’s but when the likes of Apple and BlackBerry joined the market with their smartphones, things changed forever.
Devices such as the iPhone have all of the traditional features of a mobile phone with the ability to make calls and send text messages, but also the ability to send emails, play games, browse the web and even perform every day tasks such as banking and grocery shopping. Everywhere you look today – the office, the train, the shopping centre – you see people using their smartphones with the iPhone by far the most popular and only going to become more so with the release of the latest models, the 5S and 5C.
The Internet as a whole has been a revelation, allowing people to access all kinds of content for social and professional purposes. Lately, however, there have been developments of mobile Internet in the form of Wi-Fi and third generation, 3G, and increasingly 4G allowing people to access the Internet wherever they are, whenever they like. This has been evolving around smartphones and tablet computers, allowing people to make the most of the latest technologies so that they can work away from the office, browse the web while shopping or make bill payments from home.
E-readers are a contentious one, with traditionalists preferring the feel and smell of a good book and “the smartphone generation” preferring everything to be at their fingertips on a device. Users are able to download books to devices such as the Kindle and read anything they like on one device meaning no more books taking up space on shelves, weighing down handbags and pages are turned with the swipe of a finger or clicking a button. Functionality at it’s best.