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In Depth - Mobile Phones
by Lakshmi

Overview


Mobile phone or cell phone is a great, long-range portable electronic gadget used to communicate to anyone on the planet from anywhere. Today, mobile phones perform incredible set of functions by converging voice, video, and data communications. They are used to store information, perform to-do-lists, track appointments, set reminders, send and receive email, SMS, and MMS, access internet, play games, watch TV, integrate devices like PDA, PC, MP3 players, and many more.

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Mobile phones are full duplex devices that use one frequency for talking and another frequency for listening. They communicate through electromagnetic radio waves with a base station mounted on a tower. The low power transceiver present in mobile phones help in transmission to nearest cell sites.

Whenever the phones are turned on, they are registered at mobile telephone exchange so that they will be alerted when they have an incoming call. With cell sites having relatively low-power radio transmitters, they broadcast their presence and relay communications between the mobile handsets and switch. The call to another subscriber of the same wireless service provider or to the public telephone network is connected by the switch.
 
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The first generation mobile phones are analog based. They include

  • Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS) - The primary analog mobile standard developed by Bell Labs.
  • Nordic Mobile Telephony in English (NMT) - The first fully automatic cellular phone system by Nordic Telecommunications.

    The second generation phones are digital based. They include

  • Frequency division multiple access (FDMA) - Uses separate frequency for each call.
  • Time division multiple access (TDMA) - Allocates a certain portion of time on a designated frequency to each call.
  • Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) - Implements TDMA in a different way from IS-136.
  • Code division multiple access (CDMA) - Provides a unique code to each call and divides this code over the available frequencies.

    The third generation phones are digital smart phones offering high speed data access with multimedia support. They include

  • CDMA2000 - Based on 2G Code Division Multiple Access, CDMA2000 is a 2.5G protocol in 1xRTT and a 3G protocol in EVDO.
  • Wideband Code Division Multiple Access -W-CDMA (UMTS) - The high speed transmission protocol used in the Japanese FOMA system.
  • Time-division Synchronous Code-division Multiple Access (TD-SCDMA) - Being developed in China on spread spectrum technology.

    History

  • 1926 -Radio telephony was first used on the first-class passenger trains between Berlin and Hamburg since 1926.
  • 1945 - Zero generation (0G) of mobile telephones was introduced.
  • 1947 - Bell Labs, AT&T introduced cells for mobile phone base stations.
  • 1950- Ships on the Rhine were among the first to use radio telephony with an untrained end customer as a user.
  • 1973 - Motorola manager Martin Cooper made the first call on a handheld mobile phone.
  • 1978 - Bell Labs launched a trial of first commercial cellular network in Chicago.
  • 1979 - The first commercial cellular network was launched in Japan by NTT.
  • 1981 - 1G Mobile phone with the Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) system was introduced.
  • 1982- Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the cellular service proposal.
  • 1984 - Bell Labs invented "call handoff" feature, to allow mobile-phone users to travel during the same conversation.
  • 1990 - Analog AMPS was superseded by Digital AMPS. The first digital cellular phone call was made in the United States.
  • 1991- The first digital 2G cellular technology was launched by Radiolinja in Finland on the GSM standard.
  • 1991-2000 - Many different standards existed with different contenders pushing their own technologies.
  • 2000 onwards - 3G mobile phone systems such as UMTS and CDMA2000 1xEV-DO are available for public use.

    Manufacturers

    The top five mobile manufacturers practically available in all countries are Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and LG.

    Nokia - As the world's largest manufacturer of mobile telephones, Nokia's market share is approximately 36% in the first quarter of 2007. Nokia manufactures a wide range of mobile devices to give better user experience. Its new series of game phones has high-end 3D graphics, S60 operating system, user interface, camera, mobile TV, media playback features and many more.

    Samsung - Samsung have created some technological marvels in mobile phones. Their SGH-P930 and P940 models have mobile TV functionality embedded in them. Their new Ultra range of phones has high quality video and music playing capabilities. Samsung X828 is the world's thinnest phone with display technology innovations.

    Motorola - As a global leader in providing integrated communications solutions, Motorola offers Software-enhanced wireless mobile models such as RAZRs. Its new Motorola SCPL series is based on SCPL mobile platform with unique set of features.

    Sony Ericsson - With a mission to provide the most attractive and innovative global brand in the mobile handset industry, Sony Ericsson offers some of the best mobile phone models in the world. Its Cybershots take the best pictures of all camera phones on the market. Sony Ericsson'sW44S Bravia mobile TV phone released in Japan is the best model in mobile TV phones.

    LG - LG offers some designer mobiles and its LG Chocolate ranges are the best sold mobiles. Its LG Shine model features a mirrored LCD display with gorgeous looks. LG Prada phone has touch screen functionality.

    Mobile Applications

    Besides all regular mobile applications, current mobile phones offer applications such as on demand mobile news services, job search, career advice, information guide, mobile coupons, video gaming, music, gambling, video/TV, image downloads, adult entertainment etc.

    Most mobile applications are based on the JavaT Micro Edition platform which is a set of technologies and specifications developed for small devices like mobile phones.

    Mobile Usage by Country 2007

    Today, many countries have more number of mobile phones than their people. It is estimated that around 80% of the world's population has mobile phone coverage. In July 2007, Hong kong's mobile penetration rate was 139.8% more than its population.

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    Africa has the highest growth rate of cellular subscribers in the world.

    IPv6 In 2006, India became the top country in adding an average of 6.3 million new mobile subscribers every month. All European countries and African countries and many Asian countries have adopted GSM technology. It covers over 74% of all subscribers on mobile networks. In United States, Australia, Brazil, India, Japan, and South Korea GSM co-exists with other technologies like CDMA, TDMA, iDEN, PDC etc. With the introduction of third generation (3G) networks, by June 2007, there are 200 million subscribers on 3G networks.


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