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Last Updated: Friday, 31 August 2007, 16:08 GMT 17:08 UK
How we saw the future of mobiles
By Maggie Philbin

Before the world wide web there was a BBC TV programme which brought the future into your living room.

Tomorrow's World ran for nearly 40 years showcasing hundreds of new ideas and inventions, some of which are now part of our lives.

Presenter Maggie Philbin takes a look back at how they saw the future of mobile phones.

Today almost everyone is capable of communicating on the move via text, e-mail or good old fashioned speech, but 30 years ago mobile phones still seemed like science fiction.

The first call to be made on a mobile telephone was actually made in 1973, but it was not until 10 years later that the first commercial mobile phone was launched.

Big, bulky, expensive to buy and make calls on, the first handsets were the preserve of the wealthy.

Phone-zones v Cell

While the cell phone was still an expensive proposition, cheaper alternative technologies began to appear.

The modern mobile phone is more than just a communication device

The phone-zone system was similar to contemporary wi-fi hotspots, but the technology did not catch on with consumers.

In contrast the cell phone enjoyed a slow but steady year-on-year rise in users.

Today, in countries like the UK, there are more mobile phones than people.

The modern mobile phone is more than just a communication device.

You can make video calls and surf the web, but as phones get smaller manufacturers are cramming more and more features into them.

Some handsets are already capable of streaming TV shows and video but the cost of accessing these services, and tiny displays, has so far prevented these features from really taking off.

Future developments

One solution being developed both in the US and UK is mobile phone projection technology. A tiny laser projector is fitted to a phone, which can project an image or video on to a wall or surface.

How about a mobile with a sense of smell?

Video projection technology is already on the way, but what about much further down the line, years into the future?

Tomorrow's phones will not just be devices for transmitting sound and vision - how about a mobile with a sense of smell?

Indeed, the mobile phone could cease to exist as we know it.

Who knows what kind of technology we will be using to communicate a couple of years from now?


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