back to article Tomorrow's smartphone tech today

Reg Hardware Mobile Week Technology, like time, moves on, and it doesn’t half go at a hell of a rate. Tooth and nail competition means that mobile tech moves even faster than most, and it’s extremely tricky to predict what’s just around the corner. Fortunately, the annual phone industry shindig, Mobile World Congress (MWC), …


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  1. JDX Gold badge

    Bendy screens

    The thing is, we need genuine use cases for this, not just making the screen fold instead of closing. Otherwise it'll be a gimmick.

    1. James Micallef Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Bendy screens

      There's an excellent use case for this, which is mobile video - a foldy screen would allow me to have a 6-inch screen or larger on a device that's the same size as today's 4-inch screens. Essentially a mini-tablet that's a lot more portable

      Of course there are all sorts of technical difficulties involved in keeping the bendy surface touch-sensitive, making sure it doesn't break after a thousand fold/unfolds, some mechanism to ensure it can straighten out perfectly flat instead of 'remembering' kinks and so on.

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Bendy screens

      So what happens if it gets creased? Most of the foldy bendy stuff I've seen dies if it gets a crease, which is probably why it's still in the lab.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bendy screens

      See "Earth Final Conflict" GlobalLink phones, which look a bit clunky in their closed state nowadays, but you get the idea - something that's smaller than a phone now which you can slip in your pocket easily, but that unfurls to reveal a large screen.

  2. JDX Gold badge

    Scanning stuff in shops

    In many shops in the UK, if you are seen scanning items with your mobile, you will be escorted out of the store.

    1. GettinSadda

      Re: Scanning stuff in shops

      [citation needed]

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Re: Scanning stuff in shops

        >>[citation needed]

        Off you trot to Google.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Scanning stuff in shops

        At $JOB, we had a product that tracked the offers that supermarkets offered, on which we then provided analysis and opinion for those supermarket's competitors (and sometimes for themselves).

        We regularly had issues with our shoppers being harassed by store staff for wandering around taking photos of shelves, and ISTR that was one of the reasons for it getting canned.

        AC obviously.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Scanning stuff in shops

      Good, high street shops shouldn't be places to browse what you're going to buy from someone else on the Internet... I know a few people who work for John Lewis and are totally sick of people coming in getting all the John Lewis sales advice, using the computers they have on the shelves or testing out the hi-fi systems, only to "go away and have a think about it" never to be seen again. Usually these people are buying what they've tested out from a rival Internet site.

      If we want high streets to continue to exist, and the amount of people you see in them suggests we do, we need to accept that we have to pay high street price. HMV looks like it's about to fold, I can't imagine a high street with no major music vendor.

      1. johnnytruant

        Re: Re: Scanning stuff in shops

        It's not just see-before-you-buy-online. Occasionally I see things on offer in shops and I want to check some reviews of them before purchase. Most recently, a fancy VAX cleaner at less than half-price - one quick scan later, and a read of the unanimously dreadful reviews it had - no purchase, money saved on a crappy product.

        On the other hand, I recently spotted a PS3 game in Sainsbury's which looked suspiciously cheap. Quick scan confirmed it was a tenner less than Game/Amazon/etc, into the trolley, bosh. Sale achieved!

      2. Joseph Lord

        Re: Re: Scanning stuff in shops

        When I have scanned in store it hasn't been to buy it online immediately. It typically has one or more of these purposes:

        1) Check I'm not going to get completely ripped off if I buy in store. I do accept some retail markup but there is also a limit. This is especially if I see a sale price or special offer and am only buying now for that reason. Amazon charging more than a tiny bit more will confirm my instore purchase but if Amazon is cheaper I may not buy at all. More often than not seeing that instore is competitive reassures and increases my purchase probability.

        2) Check reviews. Increases purchase probability in most cases I think.

        3) Check specifications.

        4) Record it for later consideration. Probably 70% chance I won't purchase at all, 25% chance will do it online and only 5% will go back to store but in these cases I probably wouldn't be buying it anyway.

        But regarding music in particular I don't feel that will be a great loss. High Street music retail isn't a very satisfactory experience. I'd rather read some reviews and be posted the shiny disc at half the price. I would pay a real markup where there is real service or useful experience involved such as when products can be tried.

    3. Paul Hayes 1

      Re: Scanning stuff in shops

      this has happened, the supermarkets assume you are a secret shopper/price researcher for a competitor.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Scanning stuff in shops

        Tesco don't seem to mind.

    4. Haku

      Re: Scanning stuff in shops

      New consumer weapon on the horizon: Google Goggles

      So long as the camera is of high enough resolution to scan the barcode you'll just have to point your face at the item in question. Instant info about the product & prices without being seen writing anything down or taking pictures with a phone.

    5. MrXavia

      Re: Scanning stuff in shops

      Really? I've not been asked and I do it all the time, especially on films to check reviews before buying... unless there is a massive difference in price, the fact I am there with the film/ in my hand is more important than £1 or £2 difference in price...

  3. James Delaney


    I'm distracted by lady's fingernail on her little finger in the first photo.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Iphone rumours

    Oh god no not already, please stop FFS!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Iphone rumours

      The whole article looks at possible future mobile phone tech. Why shouldn't the iPhone get mentioned alongside all the others?

      1. GeorgeTuk

        Re: Re: Iphone rumours

        Because its a rumour.

      2. Arctic fox
        Thumb Down

        Re: Iphone rumours . Not so. With regard to all the other tech in the article........... is stuff that is being produced or is known to be entering production. I.e. It is stuff we will be seeing next year. What, however, may or may not be in the iUnmentionable5 is pure rumor and as such is nothing more than free advertising for iFruit.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cheap Nokias - is this how they hope to compete?

    If Nokia hopes to compete with Apple and Android in terms of Average Selling Price (ASP) it's not going to do it with cheap Windows Phones!

    Frankly, it's already looking like a busted flush when Nokia is having to price its Windows Phones lower and lower in order to attract sales. And with so little interest in Windows Phone it's a coin-toss whether they'll be able to survive medium-to-long term on such razor thin margins, particularly as they're unlikely to backfill the massive erosion in Symbian sales since the Feb11 announcement.

    When Symbian had 35% to 40% market share the low ASP was quite tolerable, but with less than 5% market share the low ASP for Windows Phone is going to be something else entirely. And all the while, Apple and Samsung coin in the profits thanks to the hefty ASP their high-end handsets command.

    The decision to go with Microsoft as a smartphone platform is looking more and more desperate and doomed to fail with each new cheap model, and with each new price cut at the high end in an effort to shift slow moving flagship devices (the Lumia 900 is already expected to debut in the UK at £399 PAYG in March - WTF, that's way too cheap to make a decent profit and turn around the Nokia smartphone business! And it's guaranteed to be cheaper still in April...)

    1. Law
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Cheap Nokias - is this how they hope to compete?

      Don't worry... it's all part of the plan. Eventually Nokia will get into serious hot water, and then Microsoft will buy the company for next to nothing and begin manufacturing their own phones using the remains of Nokia.

    2. Ralph B

      Re: Cheap Nokias - is this how they hope to compete?

      Well, so long as Microsoft are paying Nokia to put WinPho on the cheapo-phones, I guess it is not hurting Nokia too much to move down-market. Of course, when the MS bribes run out, Nokia will be up shit creek without a viable OS alternative.

    3. Andrew James

      Re: Cheap Nokias - is this how they hope to compete?

      Nokia has been selling a very, very high volume of very, very cheap phones worldwide for a very long time. As developing countries start to move away from Nokia 1100 type basic phones and want to start buying smartphones, the Nokia brand will still be attractive to them, and if there are decent quality, easy to use, affordable Nokia smartphones, I'm sure they will sell plenty.

      For a global company like Nokia, its not all about putting yourself up against Apple at the very top end of the smartphone business. There is a tanker load of cash to be made much, much further down the food chain.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not going up against Apple?

        Wasn't this the reason OPK got the bullet - for not competing effectively with Apple?

        It seems Elop is just continuing the same Symbian approach, but without the Symbian market share - the net result will be lots of red ink on the bottom line.

        Pretty much the whole rationale behind Elop going with Microsoft was the belief that WP and Microsoft would be able to compete with iOS and Apple as a platform, ecosystem and source of revenue for Nokia. Instead WP for Nokia is barely able to compete with Symbian in terms of profitability, and is still lightyears away from Symbian in terms of marketshare (they'll meet eventually, but only because Symbian is shedding market share far quicker than WP is gaining it)..

        As for those developing countries buying Nokia smartphones, I wouldn't bank on Nokia customer loyalty considering how few Symbian owners are upgrading to Nokia Windows Phone - they're pretty much all shifting to Android. And have you seen how cheap, and really quite good quality, the latest Android phones are these days?

        Nokia are losing the battle at both ends. They're cutting prices on smartphones to try and build marketshare for Windows Phone, which is ridiculous as it's not even their freaking platform. Any sane manufacturer would have hedged their bets.

        Be that is it may, Nokia should have had a premium product at the high end (WP, perhaps even MeeGo) to compete with Apple in terms of ASP/premium value, and a completely different highish-mid-to-low tier product range for Android (Symbian/Belle+++) that would sell in much higher volumes. Instead they've got neither a desirable, premium high-end product or a high volume low-end product.

        They've dumped vast market share for what is rapidly turning in to a low cost, low margin, low volume product line.

    4. NellyD

      Re: Cheap Nokias - is this how they hope to compete?

      "If Nokia hopes to compete with Apple and Android in terms of Average Selling Price (ASP) it's not going to do it with cheap Windows Phones!"

      If they did, they would... but they're not. Nokia have already said (see the Lumia launch keynote) they're looking at global developing markets.

      I care not-a-jot for Nokia but said keynote did make a lot of sense i.e. look at markets where apple can't hope to compete. There's just a few people in India and Africa for example who can't afford the Apple "shiny shiny" tax but can stretch to the Nokia "it's rubbish but it'll do since it's cheap" one instead. Meh.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Nokia are going to struggle, not only because Android devices are now really cheap (sub $100) and more appealing to punters than a Microsoft powered phone, but also because Apple can compete at the low end if it so chooses - imagine todays 3GS being the low end for Apple in the not too distant future (it's already low end in developed countries).

        The future business plan for Nokia is predicated on existing customers staying loyal to Nokia as they move up the value chain, and the simple fact is that on recent evidence that simply is not happening. The customers that Nokia is depending on are spending similar to slightly more amounts on Android instead of Nokia, or spending a lot more and going to Apple.

        To suggest the grand plan, which is to entice low income customers to buy low margin products with non-existent market share simply because "it's a Nokia" is preposterous - the degree of risk trying to pull this off is hard to contemplate. I'd understand if Windows Phone were Nokia's only choice of OS, but it's not - and it never was. Nokia is shouldering all the risk in order to make Microsofts platform a success (so that it can sell it elsewhere). Totally ridiculous.

        1. NellyD

          Re: @NellyD

          Nokia's plan for developing nations wasn't / isn't using WinPho... try (grab a bucket) S40. Even the cheapest of cheap droids and fruity phones can't be that cheap unlocked (£50). Besides, there's more to their master plan than merely flogging cheap handsets e.g. there's cunning compression in play to help cut down on bandwidth improving both speed, bandwidth overhead and data costs. Let's see a 3GS play nice out of the box and not attempt to guzzle as much data as it can while nobody is looking. There's even an article on some 2 bit blog about them:

  6. Kubla Cant

    Something missing

    Ecstatic though I am about having a 5-core phone that displays HTML 5 etc, I'd just settle for a smartphone with sensible battery life. My HTC Desire can just about make it through the day if I don't actually use it for speaking to people.

    And I'd gladly pay extra for a phone that comes with a cast-iron guarantee that it will under no circumstances transfer money to anybody.

    1. Andrew James

      Re: Something missing

      I got a Desire in May 2010 and used it for internet, sms and apps during the day and within 8 months or so it would be at less than 10% battery by 3pm after a full charge the previous night, taken off charge at 8am.

      I sold it and got a desire s in 2011 and while slightly better, its still not ideal. If i'm at work its plugged into a charger for at least part of the day to make sure it will last until i go to bed.

      My wife has had her Desire 20 months now and uses nowhere near as much battery as i did, because she uses it for phonecalls and sms, and an occasional email during the day. Proves that how you use it makes most difference. if the screen is on and you're touching at it all the time it just kills the battery. Without a 2x bigger battery making the phone bigger and heavier i dont see how you can get around it. Unless you make the screen only cover half the phone and put some buttons in.

      1. phlashbios
        Thumb Up

        Re: Re: Something missing

        If you have a modicum of technical ability, the HTC Desire is easily unlocked to be able to installl any one of a variety of different variations of Android, with a similar variety of different user interfaces. The XDA developer community are prolific in their endeavours with a whole raft of different HTC phones (and indeed other brands.

        Me personally, I am running a variant of MIUI on an Android 2.3.7 base, and battery life is two days with phonecalls, fairly extensive web use and texting.

        In short, things have moved on some since the 2.1 and 2.2 versions of Android that you find on HTC Desire's. HTC even offer an update to Gingerbread (Android 2.3) themselves if you hunt a little for it.

        Hell, at the moment there XDA Developed even have a beta of Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) running on the Desire, which while it doesn't have every bell and whistle working atm, is still perfectly functional for most peoples needs.

        Get playing with your phone, it can do more than you think if you take the reins off it :-)

        1. Andrew James

          Re: Re: Re: Something missing

          I was never bothered about rooting my Desire, and i wouldnt want to try it on my wifes while she still needs it - she's comfortable with how HTC Sense works and knows her way around it. Takes her ages to get to grips with a new phone so she'd be annoyed if it didnt work quite as well as we hoped.

          I had a quick look into rooting my Desire S a few months ago and established that the most simple solution for rooting it wasnt an option for me due to something or other - you've either got optionA which it works for, or optionB for which it doesnt. I'm optionB.

          I've just had the latest update installed from HTC and given me the newer version of Sense UI and that includes the ability to do screen-capture which was the only feature i really wanted that it didnt have. So for now i'm quite happy.

          yes, there are lots of options out there if you want them, but i chose my phone because i like it, including its UI.

          1. annodomini2

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Something missing

            You don't need to root to install the official HTC Gingerbread ROM.

            1. Andrew James

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Something missing

              That was already downloaded and installed on her phone a long time ago. It was running 2.2 when she got it and upgraded itself to 2.3 shortly afterwards.

              She's had the newer version of android market longer than i have lol

  7. mdava

    What I *actually* want to see

    Is a smartphone with a sensible battery life.

    The (absence of any) useful battery life on my otherwise pretty cool smartphone is pissing me off so much that I'm seriously considering a £10 Tesco dumbphone as my next handset.

    1. annodomini2

      Re: What I *actually* want to see

      Buy a Blackberry, although whether you consider that a smartphone is up to you!

    2. Magnus_Pym

      Re: What I *actually* want to see

      I've got a Nokia N8 with Symbian Belle and it is actually quite nice. Battery life is good. I can get through the week end with occasional calls (I usually charge it up weekday mornings as I use it all day at work). Built in sat nav, quite nice apps usable app available. nice camera.

      Pity it's been killed off

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    2 things

    1) 4G? i'd rather have working, blanket 3G first, if that's ok.

    2) iPhone5? wouldn't that be the same phone that was due to come out late last year...?

  9. PsYcHoTiC_MaDmAn

    is it just me, but does the jebus phone 5 look somewhat like a cross between the S2 and the S3 promo pics? (ok, hasn't got the stupid bump on the back like the S2 (though with extended battery that s fixed))

  10. Dogface

    Some bug fixes would be nice...

    Whilst its nice to be all modern and such like, would be an idea if the powers that be actually fixed the known bugs in their products, i.e. a bit less focus on the shiny-shiny, a bit more focus on nitty-gritty.


    People being forced to recommend iPads because Google simply won't address the issue. (I have an Android phone and Tablet, before anyone accuses me of being a shill for Apple).

    1. phlashbios

      Re: Some bug fixes would be nice...

      As with all bugs, this particular bug will have a priority associated with it to be fixed. I would suggest that as this particular bug you have chosen, has been waiting for a fix for some time now, it doesn't affect a sufficient number of people to have made it a pressing enough matter to reach the top of the bug fix pile.

      Shiny and new also sells way better than old and dull. Even with bugs in :-)

      Ask Apple. They are experts at shiny and new ;-P

  11. Steve Evans


    No sign of any new battery technology to power all the new shiny bits then?

    1. Citizen Kaned

      Re: :-(

      hydrogen? :)

      i agree though. these new quad core 1080p mobiles will surely hammer batteries?

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