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40 years on, what do you look for in a new mobile phone?

As more astute members of the public relations and media fraternity may have picked up on, this week marks the 40th anniversary of the world’s first mobile phone. Unveiled in 1973, the Motorola DynaTAC weighed in at nearly 1Kg, offered 20minutes of talk time, took ten hours to recharge, and only went on sale a decade later.
Now everyone in this Manchester PR office has experienced frustrations with handsets, from BlackBerry to Apple kit, and delays between launch and purchase are often rather long. But, thankfully, times have definitely changed. Advancements in telecomms technology- along with that unsung electrical hero, the battery- mean we can now leave devices on for over a day without plugging them in, whilst taking pictures of friends and sending an instant message to mum.
Quicker than anyone here on Quay Street could say ‘let’s do a blog on the history of the mobile’ more news reached our ears, though, in the shape of what some are heralding as another momentous day in the decade-spanning life of these handy gadgets. For those looking confused, let’s clarify by saying that over in California, as we speak, Facebook representatives are busy unveiling exactly what they mean by ‘mobile first’.
Headlines suggesting the social media giant has developed its own handset are slightly misleading. Bossman Mark Zuckerberg was even quoted in The Telegraph as saying “We’re not going to build a phone…”, which kind of sets the record straight. Instead, the firm has joined with HTC to develop a product that (should) offer the greatest integration yet between the social network and Android, the dominant mobile phone operating system, with this news coming just weeks after a story we posted regarding the News Feed changes set to bring browser and mobile Facebook under one (notably cleaner) design.
There are several other interesting aspects to the forthcoming revelations, aside from the whole ‘this is where it’s all heading’ angle. For starters, Google and Facebook have an odd relationship at best. They are interdependent, but then they are also rivals. Both have a commercial interest in online information- from socialising to search- and, as sole developer and partner firm respectively, both now have an interest in physical kit. Google’s Nexus phone will compete for attention against HTC offerings.
According to The Drum this new software, offering improved integration between OS and social media platform, reputed to be called Facebook Home, will also be available to download on other Android phones, meaning there’s no exclusivity deal here. Nevertheless, the smart money would be on HTC being ahead of the pack, at least for the time being, when it comes to utilising the new setup (after assisting in its creation).
Needless to say, we’re eager to hear about the new functionality, as no details have been revealed yet. But after considering what could be included, and what difference those enhancements could make in terms of consumer appeal, a major question surfaced. Apple and Samsung phones are the market leaders, and have been for some time. This is despite competitors offering incentives ranging from a waterproof body (Sony) to deep levels of personalisation (Windows).
But neither top dog sells itself based on one specific plus point, whether that’s the quality of media player or the way they work with an individual app. Instead people choose these devices largely because of build quality, design, and overall performance- from web browsing to Tweeting- along with the resolution and size of their displays. As such, we feel compelled to ask just how important is Facebook integration when it comes to your choice of mobile phone? Take a look at this advert for the very first whilst you mull it over.


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