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Development Trends in Mobile Devices

Applied IT (Year 12) - Hardware

Christian Bien

Fingerprint Scanners

Fingerprint scanners are a new trend amongst mobile phones, used to provide a quick and secure unlocking mechanism for unlocking phones, entering passwords or even purchasing items. Apple has made its touch ID fingerprint scanner hardware available for third party apps. Enabling fingerprint scanners as an unlocking mechanism not just for unlocking the phone but for third party applications such as the Commbank Application as shown above. The convenience and security of fingerprint scanners on mobile devices has allowed for more complex passwords.

For example, my phone could have a 10 digital pin which can be replaced by a touch on a fingerprint scanner The flip side is that more people are forgetting their passwords as they are inputting them less frequently. Applications for Business Fingerprint scanners offer an affordable biometric security solution for businesses. Business owners can easily secure sensitive data without having to remember complex passwords.

Near Field Communication (NFC)

Image of Apple Pay being used to purchase a coffee. Image courtesy of Mybloodtypeiscoffee, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

NFC is a communication hardware that comes standard in phones nowadays, enabling a variety of features. Apple restricts third parties from accessing the NFC features in their phones. But we have seen the practical application of such features with 'Apple Pay' enabling users to pay for transactions using their phones or smart watches. Payment by NFC is also more secure, requiring a pin, password or more conveniently linked to a fingerprint scanner. Unlike regular tap and go cards, when a phone is stolen, a user cannot use the phone for transaction purchases. Applications for Business Similarly, businesses have been taking advantage of NFC with Apple's Beacon, a device that communicates to devices with NFC providing information based on a small geographical context. For example, a business could have a beacon operate near a special counter. When a customer is nearby the counter, the beacon could send a notification to the phone to alert the consumer of the arising specials nearby.

Wearable Technologies

Innovation around mobile phones is diminishing with the latest features including the usual suspects of better cameras, processors and screens etc. Technology companies are investing more to wearable technologies of smart watches, smart bands or smart glasses. Smart watches/bands enables quick access to notifications, fitness tracking and communications more convenient than reaching out a phone. Applications for Business Wearable technology can have a positive impact on businesses. Business owners often care about the health and wellbeing of their employees which will impact on productivity levels. Wearable technology can promote a more healthier workplace, with fitness trackers calculating step counts. Applications for Health Apple Watch Series 6 has recently introduced some unique health innovations. The watch now features the capability to measure blood oxygen levels to understand how well the body is taking in oxygen. Furthermore, for more frail individuals, the watch also features fall detection, which identifies when an individual has fallen. If no response is made from the individual after the fall, the watch immediately calls emergency services.

Virtual Reality

Mobile technologies are now incorporating virtual reality, the mix of virtual elements in the real world. This is most evident in the 'Pokemon Go' application which uses cameras that record a user's real time environment and software to project virtual creatures (Pokemon) on the screen interacting with that real environment. Applications for Business VR can also be seen through goggles which enable a user to see through a virtual world based on physical movements. There are a number of gaming as well as business applications such as virtual training simulation which is a much more affordable way to train employees. VR goggles is also used to allow for a more intensive experience of 360 degree video. Ikea has also released a virtual reality app that allows users to view how a new piece of furniture would look like in their own homes before purchasing.

Foldable Screens

Image of Samsung Galaxy Flip, Grace R. Samson, CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

A recent consumer trend, foldable smartphones have become the latest craze, although consumers have yet to largely appeal to the new feature. Phones like the Samsung Galaxy Fold feature two screens, one normal size and one screen that folds out into a larger mini tablet sized display. Phones like the Samsung Galaxy Flip, bring back the retro flip phones, allowing to fold the screen into half to allow for greater portability and reduced form factor.

Samsung Galaxy Fold Review | MKBHD Review

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