Want to enhance your mobile experience? Here are thirty-three ways to have a whole lot more fun with phones.
(1) Upgrade to a diamond-encrusted, million-dollar GoldVish phone. Conspicuous consumerism at its best. GoldVish is a must-have for all you multi-millionaires out there. Over 100 carats in diamonds and white gold throughout. Wow. That’s hot. If Paris Hilton doesn’t already have this phone, I guarantee she will by the winter. If you can’t afford a GoldVish, go for the much more affordable Vertu (though it’s no cheapie with a base price of $800). What’s that you say, your long-term cell contract is the only thing keeping you from buying one of these babies? Celltradeusa.com offers a get out of your cellphone contract free card…for a small fee. But if you’re rich enough to afford either the GoldVish or Vertu phones, you probably don’t care anyway.
(2) Go full screen. Nokia is developing a ridiculously sexy new phone called the “aeon” which uses a full touch screen over the entire surface of the phone. [Engadget via Mobility Site] Basically the entire surface of the phone turns into a touch screen when in use, and then back to generic looking plastic when not. It’s ingenious.
(3) Find yourself. Get GPS. It’s expected that the number of cell phone subscribers with GPS services will reach 315 million by 2011. Here’s an example of a Nokia handset with GPS. GPS is this year’s in-phone MP3 service, or last year’s camera phone technology. Expect almost every phone manufacturer to include some form of GPS in their newest phones in 2007. In fact, the competition for having the best GPS technology among phone companies has already begun as Nokia recently signed a deal with GPS giant Trimble.
(4) Grab your 15 seconds of fame. Enter a cameraphone art contest. Keep in mind that Andy Warhol actually said, very cynically, that everyone will have their 15 seconds of fame, not 15 minutes.
(5) Project yourself. This could be taken two ways: get a screen projector for your cell phone, or a phone with 3D images. The projector idea won’t be useful for most people, especially for $400. But if you’re really into gadgets, there’s no better way to make a statement at a party than with a projection screen shooting out from your cell. By contrast, the 3D images I’m digging. I predict that everyone is going to want this technology; unfortunately they aren’t exactly available yet.
(6) Get mobile VoIP service. VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a new form of telephony where a call is carried over the Internet. With PDA cellphones coming into the mainstream, millions of people already have broadband Internet access via their phones. So taking the next step to using your cell to make free VoIP calls is already possible, and its only a matter of time before it goes mainstream. In fact, if you have a cellular data plan, you might already have access to mobile VoIP (although not all providers allow it). Mobile VoIP is relatively new, but depending on your phone and provider, some of your choices are Mino Wireless, EQO Mobile, iSkoot, Fring, SoonR, and Skype for PocketPC (specific handsets). There are also a few more technologies like Talkster, that are still being developed. If you’re a tech-junkie, you’ll want to follow VoIP and cell-phone integration for the next few months, because when this hits the mainstream, its going to be huge.
(7) Get mobile TV service. It’s not for everyone, but the number of people subscribing to TV broadcasts over their mobile phone/ PDA is increasing. That’s because reviews consistently say that the quality is excellent and at $9.95 per month it is within almost everyone’s price range.
(8) Get mobile radio. There are new mobile radio services forming, including Motorola iRadio, which features 600+ channels of National Public Radio music programming. CD quality at that. I expect this to be really popular in cities where commuters rely on public transit, because people will be able to get the daily news without having to carry an extra pocket radio.
(9) Unlimited cellular data plan. If you’re planning on browsing the Internet with your cell phone, listening to streaming music, or using mobile VoIP or mobile TV (see above), then you need not only need a cellular data plan (aka cellular wireless), but an “unlimited” monthly bandwidth account. Just make sure that “unlimited” means unlimited, as some providers cap monthly data bandwidth at 250 Megabytes, others at 10 Gigabytes. To get an idea, a video might be 50 Mb. So 250 Mb doesn’t take you very far. In case you’re interested, almost every provider is offering these unlimited plans, and they will typically run you about $60-$80 per month.
(10) Add a Wi-Fi card. Some smart phones and PDAs have a slot where you can insert memory or other modules. If you don’t want to get an expensive cellular data plan, you can access the Internet on your phone using Wi-Fi as long as you are near a Wi-Fi network. In fact, Motorola recently introduced a model where the wifi connectivity was actually built in to the phone.
(11) Setup a Bluetooth headset or earpiece (or sunglasses!). These are great if you tend to move around in a room a lot. You can also tuck your cell phone in your pocket and answer your calls through the headset. If you’re out in public and feel silly wearing a headset, try an earpiece, which tucks into and around your ear. Bluetooth headsets/ earpieces are also great for using VoIP on your desktop or laptop computer, provided that they are Bluetooth-enabled. If you feel like splurging, there’s the Motorola Razrwire Bluetooth-enabled sunglasses from Oakley, for roughly $200-300. A great accessory for someone on the go, particularly athletes.
(12) Get/make a ringtone. Ringtones are a multi-billion dollar market today. Individually, they’re pretty expensive considering that you’re rarely getting a full song. So if you’re the DIY sort, make your own ringtones. If you use Audacity to record, the software is free and easy to use. So scour through your collection of music and create your own custom tones. Just make sure you don’t try to sell them if you didn’t write the songs yourself, else you may have to call home. Hello Dad? I’m in jail. Just kidding.
(13) Buy and sell your own ringtones through your mobile. If you’re more of a leader than a follower, especially if you have a geeky bone or two in your body, you’ve probably already made your own ringtones (see above), phone wallpaper, and other mobile content. If not, MyNuMo provides web-based tools to do that very thing. What’s sexy about that? You can sell your creations on your own NumoMedia site, or via SMS, with MyNuMo handling all the distribution and transactions for your little company. Imagine your tones, papers and videos on your friends phones, their friends’ phones… the mind – and wallet – boggles.
(14) Make your cell phone squeal. After all the investment you’ve put into your phone to sexy it up, the last thing you want is for it to be stolen. So get your hands on Remote XT, an application that makes your phone scream if it’s stolen. It stores all your crucial data online, and if the phone is stolen, RemoteXT wipes the databank clean so that the thief can’t use it. When you recover the phone (or switch to a new one), you can restore all your contacts and other data.
(15) Pay with your cell phone. A number of newer phones are being tested in various parts of the world, including sports stadiums, which use a technology called contactless payment. Contactless payment comes in several forms including smart cards, key fobs, and now cell phones. Basically, you wave the phone near a special reader, and the appropriate amount of money is transferred from your account. Contactless payment uses a technology known as RFID, or Radio Frequency IDentification, which is at the cutting-edge of Mobile technology. This technology is just coming on to the market, but RFID contactless pay looks like it could be the next big thing.