by January 7, 2000 0 comments

According
to telecom chronology, we’re in the second generation of mobile
communications. The first generation was based on analog systems, designed only
for voice. The second generation is the digital generation–along with voice,
some basic data services are also available on the mobile phone. These include
SMS (Short Message Service) where small text messages can be sent from one
cellphone to another, and rudimentary fax and e-mail. The third generation is
where the fun and games are being promised.

3G, as third generation cellphone systems are popularly
called, promises to bring multimedia and the Internet to the mobile. In short, a
3G device would be mobile and offer most functionalities that the PC does today.

3G device concepts–from Nokia (above), and Ericsson(top, right)–feature larger screens, color, multimedia, easy navigation, improved bandwidth and Internet connectivity, all on compact devices. A number of radically different concepts are currently doing the rounds currently. It’s anyones guess as to which ones will finally make it to your pocketCellphones
are about the only mobile 2G devices, and their limitations are in the areas of
display, input, and bandwidth. Display real estate is limited on even the best
of cellphones, and is mostly monochrome text, or at best, text-based graphics.
Where input is concerned, cellphone keypads are designed to input numbers or
very small amounts of text. So, you have to work out a way of either eliminating
text input–probably use voice commands instead, or adding on devices like
small keyboards that will make text input easier. And finally bandwidth.
Cellphones transfer data at 9.6 kbps. Remember the days of the 9.6 kbps modem?
You can’t have rich content transferred at those speeds. So, the real
challenge of 3G is enhanced bandwidth. Plans are on to increase bandwidth
availability manifold, and the technologies for the same could be rolled out
anytime now.

It’s envisaged that the 3G device will be an always on,
always connected one, that goes with you wherever you go. More of an
entertainment and data communication device than the cellphone is today, it’s
unlikely that one size would fit all in 3G devices. Many different concepts are
doing the rounds, and it’s possible that many of them would become
bestsellers. It’s equally possible that as technology and needs gets better
defined, a totally new type of device will emerge as the choice of the new
generation.

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