Over the last couple of weeks at Three, we’ve been building out our Facebook timeline. Lots of you will have had it on your personal accounts for a while now, but timeline for brands has only just arrived.
Just as you can with your own personal Facebook timeline, we’ve started to sprinkle our page with key dates from our history. From the opening of our very first store, to the Terminate the Rate campaign we supported to lower termination rates. We’ve tried to include as many of our proudest moments as possible.
Of course the area that gets me the most excited is devices – especially smartphones. And helping our social media team to plot all of our most significant device launches on our Facebook timeline has reminded me just how far we, and the products we choose for the Three network, have come.
It’s incredible to think that the enormous NEC E606 and classic Nokia 8210 were only available on the high street nine years ago. In the same year, Tony Blair was Prime Minister and still had three more years in office, and Mad World was Christmas No.1!
It feels like a lifetime has passed, but in truth, the speed at which the physical smartphone has evolved is really quite breath taking. For me, there’s one element of it that characterises this speed of change better than any other, and that’s the screen.
It’s the window onto your mobile world, and in the last 9 years it’s got bigger, gone colour and become interactive.
The screen of a phone, especially in the world of touchscreens, can be a crucial decider when it comes to the success of a smartphone, and it was arguably Apple’s very first iPhone that set the standard. At the time, its beautiful design and intuitive UI won the plaudits of the critics, but it was the iPhone’s high gloss, super sensitive glass screen that got the industry cooing.
Compare the 3GS with the LG Viewty which was available only 18 months earlier, and it’s easy to see how things have progressed.
Now, of course, it’s not all about iPhone. HTC, Samsung, Nokia and Sony have all produced stunning touchscreen devices in the last 6 months that require nothing more than a simple swipe to move from page to page.
The way a screen reacts to your touch is one thing, but its size is quite another, and measuring in at 5.3 inches, the Samsung Galaxy Note is an amazing example of how integral a screen’s performance is to the success of a device. Especially so when you consider that some blogs were celebrating how manufacturers could make tiny phones only 4 years ago.
Nowadays, there are two main types of touchscreen: capacitive and resistive. Resistive touchscreens, which are being manufactured less and less require pressure to work, this type of touchscreen came first. Smartphones like the Nokia N97, the LG Viewty and the Sony Ericsson Satio use this type of touch. The capacitive screen on the other hand works with your body’s own electricity field, which makes it more sensitive and easier to use – unless you’re wearing gloves, of course! Smartphones like the iPhone and Galaxy Nexus all use capacitive screens.
Brightness and clarity are also key. Super-AMOLED, Super LCD, IPS and retina display are all technologies designed to give you the crispest, most clearly defined picture on the market, especially important if your phone doubles up as your camera. And we expect innovation to continue in this field as 3D and HD on smartphones become more accessible.
In the grand scheme of things touchscreen technology is just one of the game-changing developments that we’ve seen in recent years. The quadcore processor in the new HTC One X smartphone provides a level of power that we’ve never seen before, and in addition to this, we expect to see Near Field Communication (NFC) become mainstream for mobile payments and smart tags in the next 12 months or so.
But for me, it’s the ever-present screen of a smartphone that provides the starkest reminder of how advanced the technology we use today is. The screen hasn’t just become a feature of a phone, in so many instances, it is the phone, and without it, all the technology that sits behind it is rendered almost useless.
Technology moves on so quickly in our world, and we’ve had great fun revisiting some of our favourites from the past.
Check out our Facebook timeline for your own trip down memory lane.