What we are currently seeing with mobile telephones is the fastest and biggest ever change in video gaming. Developments are almost daily as the competitive war between handset providers power the market forwards. There are a number of reason this has come about.
- The setting up of Application stores by the handset manufacturers has simplified the market. Before this a game developer or publisher had to deal with hundreds of airtime providers in a highly fragmented market.
- The availability of cheap, low power processing. There has been a revolution in just how much processing horsepower phones have. They are now the equivalent of a desk top PC of not so long ago.
- Building user interfaces into phones. Accelerometers and touch screens lead to gesture control which is perfect for gaming.
- The drive to a Swiss Army Penknife, universal pocket device. Still camera, video camera, MP3 player, video player, gaming machine, GPS device, web browser, personal organiser, email terminal, telephone etc etc.
- The need for the mobile telephone industry to find new markets now that the voice telephony market is saturated in most countries.
The current best, hottest, latest handset to appear is the Samsung i7500 which uses the Android operating system from Google. It is an amazing device. It’s HVGA AMOLED display makes LCDs look like the old technology they are. The 5 Megapixel camera with flash, autofocus, image stabiliser and geo tagging is good enough to use as a dedicated camera. It would take a massive article to describe everything that this phone is capable of. And Android seems to be emerging to be the best all round system for these devices.
But the Google operating system is not alone in advancing quickly. The media is all abuzz over the forthcoming Palm Pre, which is looking like it is going to be massive.
And pretty soon we are going to see the third generation iPhones, with multiple models. Also V3 of the iPhone operating system is imminent. But from rumours that are emerging these are looking like a partial catch up with Android. What is for sure is that the iPhone App Store and iTunes are still massively ahead of the competition. But this could change very quickly with services like Spotify around.
These are all amazing devices that would have been unbelievable just a couple of years ago. As they proliferate and prices come down they will take over from simple phones. This is going to put a lot of processing power in the pockets of hundreds of millions of people, which will be a revolution and not just for gaming.