A Close Look At The Top 10 Smart Phone Technologies In Development Today

Written by Rene Tse

The Top Ten

1. Keep Your Eye on Flexible Displays Coming Soon

Rollable displays rolling out

A flexible cell phone display can be unfurled and then rolled back up into a cylinder case. An early prototype show above shows E ink technology at work, what is absolutely amazing is that the display retains its image even when the power is turned off.

An OLED consists of an emissive organic material, that when supplied with an electrical current, can produce a superior full color flat panel display. OLED stands for organic light emitting diode. OLED or flexible displays do not use crystals the way smart phone LCD screen uses crystals. OLED is much better than both the LCD and CRT technology. Organic light emitting diode is so incredibly thin; it can be placed on a substrate such as plastic film or glass. Not only is it thin, but OLED is so light weight, it is an advantage for hand-held devices, smart phones, cell phones, laptops and notebooks. Compared to traditional or old CRT displays, OLED is brighter, sharper and even has a better contrast than LCD. The OLED imaging quality certainly surpasses that of LCD screens. What is also incredible is that OLED can be viewed at any angle, a full 170 degrees.

OLED consists of super thin layers that are sandwiched together. An organic compound is inserted between two electrodes layers which are arranged like a grid of ways very much like your patio screen door that keeps mosquitoes away. Electricity goes to one wire on one layer. More electricity goes to another wire of the grid on the second layer. When the two charged wires meet, an organic layer lights up. The colors you see on flexible display are created by lighting up sub pixels within each pixel. This causes what you call electroluminescent light. Without getting too complex, a chemical arrangement of the organic material dictates which colors of light are being produced. When you look at an OLED display, it's like you're looking at your mosquito screen door itself not the filtered light coming through it. This is why you can view the OLED screen from any angle without distorting the image.

Organic light emitting diode (OLED) screens are printed on to plastic or glass substrates (a very thin material) using inkjet printing technology. Eastman Kodak invented OLED technology back in the 1980s. Philips electronics felt the need to improve OLED technology by experimenting with flexible display smart phone or cell phone screens that can be rolled up for storage and unrolled for viewing. Virtually many other electronic devices such as: GPS, PDAs, video cameras, mobile phones, tablets, and DVD players are a candidate for flexible displays using OLED technology.

A company in Japan called E Ink developed "electronic ink". The electronic ink has opened up a creative option for everyone as well doesn't require a charge to maintain an image producing amazing results. Power is necessary to change the image but not to view it. This is why OLED technology consumes 20% less power than LCD screens. Potentially you could read an entire web page on your flexible display PDA or smart phone without draining your smart phone battery. The flexible display on your cell phone or smart phone is small enough to fit in your purse or pocket. Yet the screen can be rolled out and rolled back in easily. This technology is not yet available today but watch out that as early as 2009; you'll see new smart phone and cell phone models with flexible display screens.

2. Fluid Lenses - a Corner Will Be Turned

The new, improved and greatly smaller...

The tiny fluid lenses will give you the freedom to create astounding photographs with your camera cell phone are smart phone. No one will know that this picture was taken from your mobile phone. Camera phone users are certainly not thrilled with the quality of the pictures they take with their 1.3 or 2.0 mega pixel camera phone.

But there are the rare moments when kayaking through a tropical paradise of Fuji Island, snowboarding and North Pole or checking out the forbidden Palace in China: when we wish we had a digital camera close at hand. The premise of taking snapshots is that all of us have images that carry an internal narrative that we rarely get to share.

The reason for the poor quality picture produced by most camera phones on the market today is the flash is nonexistent, as well as the camera lens assembly. Camera phones have lenses of extremely limited focal length giving you results of the list to be desired for.

In 2004, Phillips R&D department combated the focal length problem by combining conductive liquid and non-conductive liquid together. Another term for conductive and non-conductive liquid is immiscible fluids. Phillips found by applying more current to the conductive fluid increases the curvature of the lenses, which subsequently affected its focal length.

Talk about early notification, Philips electronics let us in on a little 'secret' to be unveiled in a few years. As early as 2008, you can be taking stunning photographs with your camera smart phone, thanks to Phillips electronics.

3. Portable Pictures to Go - Smart Phone Projectors

A projector in a cell phone, viewing photos from a phone becomes a lot more fun

Recently at an annual CeBit technology show in Hanover Germany, Finland upstream engineering produced a prototype pocket projector using believe it or not Star Trek sounding technology called photons vacuum. The pocket projector focuses the scattered light from LEDs (light emitting diodes) to luminous points that make up the pixels of the display.

The cell phone projector technology developed by Siemens communications in Samsung respectively, can detect PDA stylus presses as well as a finger taps on the projected image. The technology is already in development and soon you can projector your tiny cell phone screen onto a nearby flat surface and enjoy a larger reading area.

If you happen to be a gamer, and the cell phone projector technology has a special treat to offer you. This will solve the problem for many cell phone users that are becoming nearsighted because they have to squint and decipher the small printing on a 2 x 2 inch cell phone screen. For professional and hobby photographers, cell phone projector technology allows you to show your portfolio with just a cell phone and a projector.

4. Near Field Communication - Making the Switch

In Korea, cell phone users are able to pay for cup of chai latte, movie ticket buy a CD simply by using their cell phone. As early as 2008, you too could be putting your Nokia within 8 inches of a vending machine, ticket kiosk or parking meter to pay for small transactions (micro payments less than a dollar). This concept is very popular in both Europe and parts of Asia.

However, not everyone who can, will make the switch to micro payments using their cell phone. Many will remain devoted to caring change in their pockets and not opt to even owning a cell phone. Due to privacy concerns, near field technology manufacturers aren't sure if Americans will embrace this technology with the potential for hackers to cause havoc and embezzle money from people's personal accounts.

Two industry leaders: Sony and Philips both developed a protocol by which two devices; one being your cell phone could exchange information with another device.

What Is near Field Communication?

With this technology your cell phone can transmit a magnetic field of 13.56 megahertz frequency. If your cell phone's magnetic field comes in contact with another magnetic field also with the same frequency of 13.56 MHz, the connection will be established. What happens when your cell phone comes within range of a vending machine? It will prompt you to enter a PIN number or password. At which point you can press OK to buy a chocolate bar or any other service using your cell phone.

5. Directional GPS - Turn by Turn Instructions Rolls out

Expect to see GPS receivers, electronic compasses capabilities on your smart phone or cell phone coming soon this year.

Most cell phones have radio location. In case of emergency, your local rescue operation can triangulate your position within 100 yards. We're not talking about relocation rather combining a GPS receiver, compass capabilities onto a cell phone.

GPS receivers and navigational software gives users precise turn by turn navigation information, including position, altitude, speed direction if you are in motion. The receivers pick up signals from global positioning satellites orbiting around the earth. The navigation software translates the signals into turn by turn directions as well as street-level maps. You can already buy GPS receivers and navigation software for your PDA. But imagine using your cell phone mounted on your dashboard as a GPS system as well. You will never be lost as long as you have a wireless data plan and a cell phone with directional GPS support.

This technology will allow you to point your cell phone at any intersection allowing you to get the location of where you are including landmarks. Combined with Google earth maps, you can even locate: restaurants, theaters parks and shops with your mobile device.

Yoda, the wise sage in the movie Star Trek said, "There is no try just do". With so many tourists using fold out city maps with looks of confusion on their faces, directional GPS functionality and cell phones will soon come to the marketplace. I wouldn't be surprised by the last quarter of 2007, you will be able to buy cell phones with GPS capability built right in.

6. Connect Your Cell Phone to 3-D PlayStation

Phone as gaming platform

Portable gaming system such as: Nintendo DS life, Nokia N Gage and Sony's PSP are simply flying off the shelves. In fact, portable gaming manufacturers are reporting earnings in the millions. Statistics like this will encourage cell phone manufacturers to release 3-D accelerator technology making it affordable for consumers to experience playing games on their cell phone or smart phone screens. What is a 3-D accelerator technology?

This technology allows three-dimensional objects to be rotated and viewed from any angle.

Current gaming consoles use 3-D accelerators. 3-D accelerator technology is becoming very cheap. Many cell phones suitable for use with 3-D accelerator technology built in will be introduced. I think this is a trend that will truly help gamers.

"NVIDIA's latest mobile processor boasts arcade-quality 3D graphic rendering and up to 3 MP images. Coming soon to a phone near you. Graphics company NVIDIA has taken the wraps off what it calls the world's first "3D wireless media processor", the Go Force 3D 4500, a mobile processor designed to support 3D graphics and high-res images in handhelds and mobile phones."

Graphics Company NVIDIA rolled out a Go Force 3D 4500 processor for mobile phones. This 3D graphic mobile processor supports 3D graphics and high resolution images on portable handhelds and mobile phones. The Go Force 3D 4500 processor takes away the load of calculating, drawing and rendering 3 dimensional objects from the devices central processor. NVIDIA released the Go force 5500 graphic chip and recently shipped out samples to mobile phone manufacturers. LG is a cell phone manufacturer that will be testing this brand new 3-D accelerator technology in their handsets. Currently, the LG SV 360 cell phone has an ATI Image on 3-D graphic accelerator chip built in. So users of the LG SV 360 can play games on their cell phone as though it was a stand-alone portable gaming console. LG will continue to develop and refine 3-D accelerator technology and soon you'll have the best gaming experience ever on your cellular phone. Unfortunately unless you're a Korean, you will not be able to test this product.

7. 4G networks - what a powerhouse

Did you know we have already lived through 2 generations of cell phone technology? The first generation was in 1981. Analog networks (FDMA) operate on the 900 MHz frequency range. There are some rural areas that are still using analog. In the 1990s, cell phone providers in North America adopted TDMA standard and European carriers adopted GSM standard, improving the audio quality using 2nd generation network. 3rd generation networks such as Cingular's UTMS (universal mobile tele system), T-mobile wireless' HSDPA and Verizon's ED-VO 3G Cast service allows subscribers to send short video instant message, download data at speeds ranging from 384 kbps to 500 kbs as well as video calling. What can we expect next?

4 G networks offers downloading of data at lightning broadband speeds. Recently, Japan's NTT DoCoMo performed a test where a cell phone received data at 1 gigabit per second. This means you can download 1 GB of music in less than 8 seconds. According to cell phone handbook they said, "By far the largest CDMA network in America, Verizon wireless also leads the pack in 3G broadband data coverage with its ED-VO service."

Many other cell phone providers fall short on providing a reliable 3G network. 4 G networks just means faster downloading for transferring data. Conversations remain the primary function of cell phones. Revamping and upgrading from 3G to 4G is extremely expensive. You can see why cell phone providers maybe reluctant to jump to providing 4G standard just yet.

8. Fuel Cells - A Creative Time Ahead

Mobile fuel cells?... maybe

My crystal ball is a bit hazy but here are my thoughts about finally having a long cell phone battery life. Wouldn't it be great to we no longer pollute the earth with dead cell phone batteries that spew toxic chemicals in the ground?

Have you heard of fuel cell technology? Fuel cells can be a power source for laptops, cars, PDAs as well as smart phones. Fuel cells are very similar to traditional batteries in the sense that they both use an electrochemical reaction to generate electricity. DMFC or direct methanol fuel cells work by mixing methanol with air and water to produce electrical power and have been promoted as an alternative to lithium ion batters used in notebooks, PDAs and cell phones. DMFCs are incredible because if the cell phone needs more juice, you can instantly squirt more DMFCs into the fuel cartridge recharger, just like you would fill up a cigarette lighter. Methanol or wood alcohol is plentiful and is not dangerous to handle like some other toxic chemicals.

NITT DoCoMo, KDDI and Toshiba have been developing fuel cell technology. In fact Toshiba recently developed a fuel cell about the size of a couple sticks of gum stacked on top of each other and is capable of running an MP3 player for up to 20 hours with just 2 cubic centimeters of methanol. In a few seconds you can refill the MP3 player with more fuel cells giving you more hours of listening time. 2008 will be an exciting year for fuel cell technology.

9. Nano-Emissive Displays

Remember back before everyone had TV's. The whole family would gather round the radio to listen to entertainers and stories sunday night after dinner. The classic cathode ray tube CRT displays require an electronic gun mounted to the back firing electrons, the way a soldier would fire a machine gun onto a phosphor coated glass. What really is amazing is that Motorola recently developed a prototype nano emissive display (NED) containing thousands of guns. For each pixel.

What are carbon nanotubes?

They are hollow cylindrical structures which are thousand times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. Engineers back in the 1990s have been experimenting with very strong carbon nanotubes. The R&D department from Motorola discovered the extraordinary electrical properties of carbon nanotubes by turning each one into a tiny electron emitter. Motorola is in the process of putting thousands of carbon nanotubes clumped together behind each pixel on a display, all firing simultaneously, giving you the experience of turning your cell phone screen into a mini plasma TV.

10. OLED Displays

A funky OLED display

Please refer to the beginning of the article where I talk about flexible displays and defined what OLED (Organic light emitting diode displays) are. You can already experience OLED display technology. Simply walk into any electronic supply store and ask to see a Creative Zen Plus Mp3 player. The photos and videos look very vivid through the 1.5 OLED screen. The screen is viewable from any angle. You can comfortably watch a movie on your Creative Zen Plus Mp3 player while waiting for your partner to arrive for dinner at your favorite restaurant.

Here are the 3 advantages of OLED displays:

There is still a long way for OLED technology to improve along with increased consumer demand before you start to see cell phone manufacturers replace LCD displays with OLED displays.


Source: Cell Phone Hand Book Fall 2006.

Copyright © Rene Tse, the founder and president of the website: tmobile cell phone deals.

Rene Tse is on the look out for mobile devices to enhance her productivity. This website cuts to the chase and has valued information on: family cell phone plans and which is the best Geo caching solution available for your Linux PDA, Pocket PC or smart phone.

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Last edited Tue Apr 03 00:42:22 2007.