Prediction : Future Phones will not come with chargers

The other day I was out of charge on my phone which is a rare thing considering that I got a new Galaxy Nexus (Yes I will post a review) which is not only energy efficient but by far the best battery I have seen on a portable device taking the phone to nearly 2 days of talking and wifi without the need of charging. Back to where I was,  the need for a charger was large and the charger was no where in sight, shopped around in the office and found a blackberry charger that well fit the phone very well. This got me thinking, well why don’t all manufacturers come up with some universal standard for the charger if required. At all other times they can use alternative means built into the phone itself. I have been writing about some of these here on the blog before. Lets see whats available.

First off the Charger itself 

The mini USB is pretty much a standard charger at the moment for a lot of phones, my Blackberry, the Nexus One and now the Galaxy Nexus all seem to love it. But move Blackberry models and phones, you will quickly see that its not enough its just another in the large market for charger pins. In fact when I got this car charger from Merlin in Dubai, looked like there are a lot more than just the mini USB in the market.

Add the ever popular iPhone and the other Galaxy smartphones and the chargers change. I am not sure if the mini USB is the best standard, but considering that most people seem to have one lying around these days, looks like this could be a good standard to follow.

Getting to the Chargers built in with the phone 

First getting through the familier, here is a list of some you can read within the blog:

Indian Innovation : Wind Powered Helmet mounted Cell phone charger

Indian Innovation : Hand Powered Mobile Phones 

Thermoelectric boots charge your mobile phone

Charging phone from the movement of the owners

Charging Phones with residual energy from airwaves

Charging phones with body heat

Some more from other blogs that can fill up the gap with more innovations

Nokia Bicycle charging kit 

Some Eco friendly charging options (must see) 

Juicebox, the charging platform available in public places

Another Charger using movement of phones 

Mobile phones charged by the power of speech

Wind-powered mobile phone charger

Mobile phones in developing nations could charge up using dirt

Sound Charge t-shirt tops up mobile devices using sound

Solar powered tie charges your mobile phone

Piezoelectric generator creates power from shoes

Interestingly a lot of these were invented by Nokia in an attempt to make the lives of all better, but the lack of good software (ahem .. Android) has kind of made it difficult for Nokia to make it big in the market, we might be able to see some of these innovations in the Mobile Phones running Windows Mobile. Keeping fingers crossed to see the Lumia 900 with one of these built in.

From notifications that require attention of the users towards energy saving and other power saving tips to alerts when Phone batteries are fully charged, the chargers require an upgrade if possible to go with apps that are coming up on phones to do the same on the software side. All in all it seems like a really required innovation that the manufacturers are keeping away from the consumers, even though it seems like they have most of these figured out. Well only time will tell if these innovations will get lost or really get implemented into future phones. Are you listening Google, Apple and ofcourse Nokia.

“iPad Killers” from India

The Indian consumer electronics industry is going through a bit of a overhaul. From “Indian” Mobile Phones to various innovative gadgets, the Indian Electronics Industry is definitely giving a good fight to the international players in India like the Nokia’s, the Samsung’s, the LG’s and the likes. It was all play nice, we are the new kids on the block, until they started to make a dent in the markets of these guys. Most of us know that Nokia has not been performing in the smart phone segment, the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer has its strength in the low cost mobile sector, and that is now being challenged by the likes of Maxx Mobiles,Karbon Mobiles, MicroMax and others.

But looks like Indian Companies are not just happy with making a dent. They are now going for the Mother load, Apple and the likes. If you have been reading this blog for a while, you will know about my obsession with the Innovation in India as well as a bit of a hatred with the iPad. What sparked off this post is actually a re look into the Indian Pioneer who decided to take on the Pi, Infibeam. And what surprised me was that they have an iPad lookalike ready, running both Android and Windows as optional. Yes, you did hear that right ! I thought it would make a nice look at these so called, “iPad Killers” from India. So, here goes.

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Your wallet may soon disappear into your phone

Personally being involved in many discussions, I believe that mos people interested in technology have at some time or the other wondered about the integration of your wallet into your mobile. I am talking about payments to be done through the mobile, or use he mobile as your ID card ? Well if the tech giants of the world have anything to say, it might happen more sooner than you might think. After replacing many of the small gadgets that you might use, and provide additional functionality into the phone like, camera (Check out 18 innovative uses of that phone camera here) , FM Transmitter and receiver, gaming device and many more; the phone giants staring with Apple are now looking to completely replace your wallet into your mobile.

This magic technology is called NFC or near field communication. Although the possibility of doing this has been evident for a long time using RFID tags, its just now. But NFC is coming over in a big way to a mobile near you; all courtesy to Apple. Yes, we know people are suckers for anything Steve Jobs seems to be making and selling including the ridiculous iPad. Getting back to Near Field Communication …

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My new Toy, the Nexus One

Yes, I got one. Most of you will already know my obsession with Google and Google Products, I am an avid reader and propaganda person when it comes to Google, so it was not a surprise that I did pick the Nexus One as my new Phone. Ever since I bought my first phone, it has always been a Nokia I have gone through quite a few Nokia Phones in the past few years, starting with the 3310, 6610, 6230i, N85 and my last phone which was the N95 8GB. Its been a while since I have been looking for a worthy opponent to Nokia’s best offering so far, thought about the N97 which I thought was great hardware but sloppy software, and even the N900 which again I hesitated to buy cos of the software, Maemo did not last more than 1 device. Nokia lost focus somewhere in the way, although I believe that in the emerging markets they are a tough competition the smart phone segment which seems like the most growing, Nokia is caught unaware. Now I could have waited for the N8, but then the software problems being the last Symbian device would be too much to ignore. All in all with a lot of reluctance I left the Nokia camp.

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Indian Innovation for Charging Phones

We Indians are usually not knows for Innovation, but the culture is changing. Or should I say the mindset of people going from I need a good job to I need to start something of my own is coming in. And the basis of this seems to be innovation. People are beginning to think on why there is the need to develop stuff for other companies when you can make it as your own. In a case where this concept is getting more obvious, I would like to showcase some scenarios where Indian Innovators have come up with solutions for the country made by people in the country, which of course is a recipe for success.

In our journey we will start with Mobile Chargers, one of the biggest woes these days when it comes to mobile phones is the fact the batteries do not last. And Batteries not lasting is a even more of an issue in developing countries as there might be no electricity to charge them back on. Well lo and behold, these innovations will help.

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Nokia helping to find lost keys

Everyone has mobile phones these days, and those days are nearly gone when you would hear “I left my Mobile at home”, I think its been a while since I have heard that excuse. Well this just means that we dont really go anywhere without out mobiles, and what do we do if we cannot find it when we are about to leave the home, well we call it and there it is. However, I am sure that at times when we are looking for keys and cannot find it, someone in the room says, Give it a call and everyone laughs. Well what if that could be really possible ?

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Nokia N8 released – Just Amazing (iPhone Killer ?)

Nokia just today announced N8 its new flagship phone for the future. The Nokia N8 introduces a 12 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and Xenon flash, HD-quality video recording, film editing software and Dolby surround sound. All in a beautiful, aluminium design. Well at least by the looks of it.

Nokia N8

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Nokia imagines technology in 2015

[tweetmeme] What does the future look like? Gadgets without keyboards, touchscreen devices, and phones that feature augmented reality, GPS, web browsing, and more. See for yourself in the video below.

Although clearly just concepts at this point, the devices shown in the animated video paint a picture of how we’ll be using devices and services. Connecting to TV, so we can share TV watching experiences with people on the other side of the world, or even using the mobile device as a projector. Contextual awareness plays a big part too, with the device working together with the cloud, both pulling information down to the device, and also sending information back.

Take the fisherman in India. Not only is he using his device to get the best prices for his fish, but he’s making extra money by selling his data to overseas universities who can tap into his and other fishermen’s information for their research.

It might not be a single device either. We saw an example of the user who’s main device is his mobile computer, acts as a satnav and a multimedia centre – much as our devices do today. However Mr 2015 also has a smaller, sub device which he can use for sport. With the same interface as his main device, and the addition of the cloud, means he can move seamlessly between the two.

Of course, this is all still conceptual, but we can see easily how the services and strategy being laid down today form the backbone of the lives we’ll be living tomorrow.

Nokia again with Self Charging Phones

[tweetmeme] A few days back I wrote about Nokia Research center working on a prototype technology that would allow cell phones to charge using the radio airwaves that so many radio  transmitters like wifi, radio and GSM use.

Nokia is a genuine game player when it comes to modernizing mobile communication. When just everything is being designed to run on alternative form of energy, it’s fitting that even the mobile phones are set on route. For this, the cellphone maker has filed a US patent application for a phone that can work continuously without requiring to be plugged into a wall socket for a recharge.

The patent is for a self charging phone, which would harvest energy from its owner’s motion. This will be possible courtesy built-in piezoelectric generators that would be placed to help generate electricity from kinetic energy. The phone will have all the heavier components, such as the radio transmitter circuit and battery, supported on a sturdy frame. The frame will be able to move along two sets of rails. Piezoelectric crystals sit on the end of each rail and generate a current whenever the cellphone is moved. So as the user walks, or otherwise moves the phone, electricity is generated to recharge the onboard battery.

A lot of people actually are these days talking about how Nokia is loosing its grip on the cellphone market and the high end innovation is no longer coming from Nokia. However, with technologies like these there seems to be a ray of hope for Nokia to walk back into the hearts of the skeptics. The fact that the iPhone and other high end phones still cost more than they do in the United States in most of the world will definitely give Nokia the time they need. What do you think ?

Source

Nokia charging phone with thin air …

[tweetmeme] We all have had Nokia Phones at some time, and we always have loved them for their robust nature along with their ease of use. A lot of people mention that with the new technologies in the world, Nokia has sort of lost its relevance. I think on the other hand Nokia is looking at different markets than the giant that it has become, iPhone and the Phone that aspires to be the Giant, the Motorola Droid, or the Google Nexus One.

As long as technology is moving on, so is the need for more juice in the batteries of the phones. More requirement for the power means that there will be more advancements required in batteries; or charging for the batteries. What if you dont really have to charge them at all, I mean physically. Ofcourse there are ways, like kinetic energy transformation, solar energy etc. But here’s another concept; Like Nokia I have always been wondering about how much energy is in the air all around us, I am not talking about the energy of people; but more to do with energy of wireless radio systems. Be it FM transmitting radio, GSM signals, Wi-Fi Signals or terrestrial radio systems. What if we could tap into that power to enable mobile phones to pick up the charging of the batteries from there. Completely wireless, and completely practical.

I guess what needs to be worked out is how long it will take to tap this power and how long can you charge the phone with this. Well Nokia is at it again, their innovation well not really aimed at high end phones but mostly innovation like these. Nokia Research center is working on a solution that will help the cause of wireless charging.

Nokia

A new prototype charging system from the company is able to power itself on nothing more than ambient radiowaves – the weak TV, radio and mobile phone signals that permanently surround us. The power harvested is small but it is almost enough to power a mobile in standby mode indefinitely without ever needing to plug it into the mains, according to one of the researchers who developed the device at the Nokia Research Centre in Cambridge, UK. The concept is being worked upon by different fronts, old crystal radio sets and more recently modern radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, increasingly used in shipping and as antitheft devices, are powered purely by radiowaves.

The difference with Nokia’s prototype is that instead of harvesting tiny amounts of power (a few microwatts) from dedicated transmitters, Nokia claims it is able to scavenge relatively large amounts of power — around a thousand times as much — from signals coming from miles away. Individually the energy available in each of these signals is miniscule. But by harvesting radiowaves across a wide range of frequencies it all adds up. Such wireless transfer of energy was first demonstrated by Nikola Tesla in 1893, who was so taken with the idea he attempted to build an intercontinental transmission tower to send power wirelessly across the Atlantic. Nokia’s device is somewhat less ambitious and is made possible thanks to a wide-band antenna and two very simple circuits. The antenna and the receiver circuit are designed to pick up a wide range of frequencies — from 500 megahertz to 10 gigahertz — and convert the electromagnetic waves into an electrical current, while the second circuit is designed to feed this current to the battery to recharge it.

Wireless charging is not intended as a sole energy source, but rather to be used in conjunction with other energy harvesting technologies, such as handset casings embedded with solar cell materials. According to Technology Review magazine, the phone could be on the market in three to five years.

In the meantime, there are other companies who are working on similar concepts  for charging devices wirelessly using the ambient radio waves. At CES 2010, RCA introduced something even better that’s going to be available way sooner: a dongle that tops up your mobile device’s battery via WiFi signals. Notice I didn’t say that it only tops up your cell phone battery; according to RCA reps, this little fella will work with just about all of your mobile devices.

The attachment is efficient enough that it actually provides a noticeable boost to your battery, and given enough time it will charge it to the max. Other similar gizmos have provided only a weak top-up charge at best, so this is a huge improvement. And what’s even better is that the device will be available for around $40 in the summer of 2010. Soon, as long as you’re in an urban environment or around a WiFi router, worrying about your phone’s charge will be the last thing on your mind.

The future applications of the technology are exciting as well. In 2011, RCA expects to release batteries with the WiFi charging capability built right in. There’s no word yet on how much those will cost, but does it matter? The prospect of never having to plug your phone in again will probably be enough to have them flying off of the shelves. Video Included.

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The secret lives of Nokia Mobile Phones

I am a Nokia fan, ever since I got my Nokia 3310, I have been hooked onto the Nokia bandwagon. However, in the past few years Nokia is slipping in the SmartPhone segment. They have tried their hand at the N97, N97 Mini and now the N900 to try and bridge the gap between the iPhone (which is now considered the leader in the category). Let’s look at the competition to get a look at the same, the iPhone, the Google Nexus One, the Samsung Droid, the Blackberry and Nokia N97; the list seems to fizz off when it gets closer to the Nokia. The only one in the list which sports an Ageing Operating System. However it’s not really the Operating system or the functionalities of the phone that Nokia users talk about most, it’s the durability of the phone. Nearly everyone that has owned a Nokia has dropped their phone, not because they wanted to but just because they have been a bit careless having faith in the durability of the phone sets from Nokia. I am no example, right from the days of my Nokia 3310, right until the N95 which I currently own, I have dropped the phone on many a occasion, be it from the first floor balcony, or a fast moving motorcycle, It always fits back and Just works.

That being said, I started to look at the QA & QC procedures for the sake of my knowledge. And what I did see was really astonishing, Nokia has some of the most rigorous tests for a mobile handset ever and here are some pictures from the Nokia Labs.

Repeated Button Press.


Humidity

Various liquids, creams and gels…

Bending Test, Ouch!

Dust Test

Those are hard and sharp plastic for scratch test.

These are enough for me as a fan that the Mobiles are tested well enough. However there is a complain about the Nokia devices not being Innovative. I will compile some for the next post.