We love our cell phones, maybe a little more than we should, but with all the fun apps and new technologies, we can’t help it. To be honest, some of those features are just entertaining, but there are plenty more that make tasks easier, at home and at work. So, what’s new with new cell phones? Let’s take a look.
What’s New in Android?
In 7.0 and higher, Android has tweaked its “Doze on the Go” tool to curtail overreaching apps that remain open and drain your battery when not in use. In the new version, Doze goes to work whenever your screen is off and the phone is not being charged. Access to your cell phone network will not be available outside of the maintenance windows, meaning sites like Facebook are not using up your juice; applications that don’t need network access, such as your fitness tracker, will continue to work in this mode.
iPhone Turns 10
Techies are abuzz with conjectures about what may be coming from Apple on the 10th anniversary of the iPhone this year. Some think recent design changes, such as the lack of a headphone port, point to a new phone that will be totally wireless, with WiFi battery charging and earbuds, too. We’ll find out for sure later this year when Apple announces changes to its iOS this summer. If you’re thinking of upgrading to take advantage of these new features, compare plans and prices first.
Screen sizes continue to grow, with offerings this year ranging from 4.7 to 6 inches and maybe even bigger. If you opt for larger screens, make sure the resolution is 1080p or higher, especially if you are looking into virtual reality headsets, or HMDs (head mounted displays). With a screen so close to your face, you’ll want a higher pixel count in the optic system.
For professional photographers, the phone is no substitute. For many others, however, there are plenty of camera features that make their phone all that they need.
- Two rear cameras: Some phones feature two rear cameras; the second allows you to choose a background blur effect in your photos. It also provides a wide-angle perspective.
- Image Stabilization: Few people can hold a camera, or a phone, completely still while they shoot. That’s what tripods are for. With stabilizing features, cell phones make it easier to get great photos and get them in focus.
- Additional features: Once available only on high-end cameras, many of today’s cell phones offer HDR, self-timers and an array of effects and filters that you are going to love playing with. Your photos are almost guaranteed to be great.
A handful of phones began offering Bluetooth 4.0 last year and more are expected to incorporate the technology this year. Already powering smartwatches and fitness gadgets, Bluetooth features make it possible for keyless entry to your home. Hotels are currently testing this feature for keyless room entry. A smartphone or a Bluetooth 4.0 key fob will get you in, along with a smart lock on the door, of course.
No Ticket? No Problem
NFC, Near Field Communications, allows smartphone owners entry to band venues, sports arenas and more with tap-to-enter technology and an electronic ticket. Tap-to-pay technology is here, too, with smart wallet solutions such as Google Wallet and ISIS.
Another cousin solution is Apple’s iBeacon, which makes use of location technologies to send coupons and sales alerts not only when you’re in range of a certain store, but also within the store itself as you near certain areas with sales. So you might get a text when you’re near the perfume counter that you’re your favorite fragrance is on sale for 25% off. You can take advantage of the sale and pay for it immediately with iBeacon payment options.
No More Passwords
We no longer have to remember 20 different passwords for all of our gadgets. While Apple and Motorola already offer fingerprint scanning, more smartphones will join them this year to offer options such as fingerprint, voice or optical scanning security.
As the technology that pushes cellphones forward continues to change, how we receive cellphone service is sure to change alongside it. Cell phone plans determine how much data we use and what features are available to us, but our cellphone usage habits are sure to change in the future. Even low cost cell phone plans will allow us to talk and text, stream video and music, game, and interact with the world like never before. Still not sold on all these advances? Wait another year or two.