This week’s smartphone news covers addiction, self-charging devices, the revival of Nokia among several other stories. Let’s begin with addiction.
The smartphone addiction problem
In a story published by TIME, Katy Steinmetz discusses a problem most of us face now in the 21st century, the problem of anxiety related to being without our handheld devices. Why are we letting technology rule our minds and can we have the strength to be in control of our technology usage? Larry Rosen from California State University explains,
Technology tends to “overact” our brains, draining us of unfettered, daydreaming-type creativity, he says. Today’s average college student, a member of the first generation to really grow up digitally native, now focuses and attends to one thing for about three to five minutes before feeling the need to switch their attention to something else, he says: “It makes us very tired. It makes us very miserable. It overloads our brains. … It is not good for us.” In his work, Rosen has referred to these gadgets by using an acronym for Wireless Mobile Devices — or WMDs, for short.
Perhaps we need more self-control software. I understand there are a few companies offering help to the addicted but there may be room in this space for startups interested in helping people find focus in their lives.
Nikola Labs is probably fueling the problem of smartphone addiction by making the technology ever more available. If we can avoid the inconvenience of charging our phones then we won’t ever have to part ways. Plugging your phone into a socket will still be required (for now) but research is under way to eliminate the bother as Will Zell, CEO of Nikola Labs explains in a report from MIT Technology Review,
They won’t make plugging your phone into a charger obsolete, but Zell says that Nikola’s phone case should be able to give users about 25 to 30 percent more battery life between charges. The company built its first working prototype of a smartphone case this spring and plans to start selling it in the first three months of next year for about $100 (a Kickstarter campaign for the company had raised about $74,000 of its $135,000 goal with eight days to go as of publication; Zell says Nikola Labs has separately raised private funding to bring its product to market).
I wonder how the addiction problem would look if we never had to charge again. Even so, charging while we’re sleeping really isn’t much different. Personally my smartphone is available 95% of the time as it is.
Nokia’s smartphone plan
In a statement from Robert Morlino, Nokia has laid out the options to re-enter the smartphone market. This time the business model will be different in that the company will no longer be producing the hardware but will partner with another company that will apply the Nokia brand name on a device designed by Nokia.
The right path back to mobile phones for Nokia is through a brand-licensing model. That means identifying a partner that can be responsible for all of the manufacturing, sales, marketing and customer support for a product.
If and when we find a world-class partner who can take on those responsibilities, we would work closely with them to guide the design and technology differentiation, as we did with the Nokia N1 Android tablet. That’s the only way the bar would be met for a mobile device we’d be proud to have bear the Nokia brand, and that people will love to buy.
Leveraging the Nokia brand name is a huge win for the company and finding a partner with the right terms and conditions could mean a huge cash cow for the company long term. Expect to see Nokia smartphones running the Android operating system in Q4 – 2016.
Marshall’s music focused smartphone
Get ready for a smartphone with a focus from audio giant Marshall. Founded in 1962, Marshall has 53 years of experience in the audio industry and are now poised to release a top notch smartphone. The Marshall London phone is a gorgeously designed Android device that has its focus on sound quality. The product page says it all.
Marshall London packs a lot of heat under the hood; take for example the Wolfson WM8281 Audio Hub. This soundcard gives the London a separate processor for music, allowing it to play at a higher resolution. Higher resolution means that even the best quality MP3 will sound phenomenally better when played with London. Additionally it lets you play uncompressed music such as FLAC format.
Thanks for joining Vancouver Gadgets as we wrap up the smartphone news for the week ending July 18th 2015.