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Thursday, April 18, 2013

The very nature of technology means that the way we use phones, computers and other devices to communicate is always changing. New products are developed and others fall by the wayside to make room for these new forms of technology. In recent years in particular, the face of communication technology has changed dramatically, with more big changes to come in the near future.

Firstly, landlines are experiencing a downward trend. With most people now operating a mobile phone, landlines are becoming somewhat redundant. The whole idea of a mobile is that it is carried around with you, so many people prefer not to bother calling a landline, as this is only suitable if you’re positive that the person you’re calling is at home. You’re far more likely to get hold of someone if you call them on their mobile, as they will pick up your call wherever they are.

Mobiles themselves have also changed vastly. No longer are they just for phonecalls and texts; they are now effectively mini-computers, allowing their owners to send emails, engage in social networking and manage their day to day tasks online. Standard mobile phones are still popular, but with the number of smartphones sold increasing quarter by quarter, this might not be the case for much longer as the price of smartphones comes down and the extra functionality is integrated into all new models as standard.

The emergence of VoIP services also means that we are now using the internet to speak to one another more and more. This can be in the form of VoIP phones, which run over the internet rather than using a traditional phone line, and VoIP apps and online services such as Skype. These allow people to talk over the web for free, or to pay for credit to use the internet to call a phone.

Generally, we’re using the internet more and more to talk. Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook are showing no signs of losing popularity, and very often birthday wishes are posted on a friend’s Facebook wall rather than written in a card, and news is shared in the form of a tweet or status update rather than written in a note. Information can be shared quickly and efficiently with many people, making it easy to stay in touch with people you might not see often or live close to.

In the coming years, we can expect to see smartphones acquire even more complex functions and possibly for landlines to become obsolete, or at least relegated to the bottom of our communicative pile.

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