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Tech Talk Radio Show 18 of 2009
Transmission date: May 4, 2009

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Ep 18: Windows 7 RC out now, Apple to build chips, TiVo Blockbuster, Twitter Squatters, .or.au under scrutiny, Pipe's new undersea internet cable, Telstra to challenge 3 in partnership.

May 4 , 2009

PhoneRemember when the humble mobile phone was just that – a device for making and receiving telephone calls while out and about? Its evolution into what we now call a smart phone over the past few years has been nothing short of amazing to watch, as these small ubiquitous devices have mastered the power of music, television, photography, GPS navigation, and more recently, relatively high speed internet access.

The world of communications is now virtually at our finger tips, and one of the biggest leg ups for these smart phones in recent times has been the Apple iPhone, a phone which has become a ‘must have’ accessory for millions of people around the world.

iPhoneWith the iPhone comes the apps store, a one stop authorized shop for iPhone users to expand the possibilities of their device and turn it into something much more than a telephone, something unique and personal. One of the best thing that iPhone has done, is brought about competition in the mobile phone sector the likes of which we’ve never seen before. What with Nokia, Blackberry and Sony Ericsson all vying for a piece of the action, we’re starting to see the phone manufacturers compete in the biggest competition of all, the seamless integration of all these technologies into our lives. So who’s going to win?

Currently there are three different operating systems for modern day smart phones, Apple’s OS 3.0, Symbian’s s60 and of course Microsoft’s Windows Mobile. Stand alone, they’re all terrific and if you just want a mobile phone to make and receive calls, they’re all pretty much identical. But when it comes to running applications and multi-tasking - that’s running many apps at once, then there’s a need to choose your OS carefully, as not all are the same.

Another fantastic benefit of today’s modern smart phone is the ability to bring your desktop lifestyle to your phone. Some devices do it better than others, but with nearly all providers providing internet access these days, the time has definitely come to embrace these phones for what they truly can do. The automatic seamless synchronization of contacts and appointments from home to office and smart phone is now a reality. Add a new contact to your phone and it magically finds its way to your desktop applications and vice versa. How “today” is that! Well let’s take that a step further.

For years now Telco’s have been living in fear of voice over IP products such as Skype.Skype
They’ve seen more and more voice traffic head down this path because it’s cheaper than making a traditional voice call on fixed or mobile telephone lines, and because there’s no distance issue, there’s no real cost issue. So let’s marry the smart phone with mobile broadband to Skype, and what do we get? A marriage made in heaven.

No longer do you pay a flag fall and per 30 seconds for a call, if your friends are Skype enabled it costs virtually nothing to talk as long as you like to anywhere in the world from your mobile phone.

Take Nokia’s s60 enabled E71 handset. Load up the Skype application; get yourself a free regular Skype account and your phone doubles as a phone and a Skype client. Friends can call you on your mobile phone from anywhere in the world for free instead of paying for the use of a traditional phone circuit. By now you’re thinking – what’s the catch, why would the phone companies allow you to do this? Honestly, I don’t know. But it’s here and now so let’s us it.

In Australia, Hutchison’s 3 network have an $8 per month data add on which also give you 4000 minutes of Skype talk time. In the UK, it’s soon to be free and unlimited if it’s not already. The smart phones treat Skype just like any other telephone call. If someone calls you while you’re on a call, Skype or mobile, your caller will get to leave a voice message as per normal.

It’s a truly remarkable marriage of mobile phones with broadband and VoIP, and the audio quality – well, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference. So as we head into a world of being truly connected, maybe it’s time for the Telco’s to rethink the role of the humble mobile phone – no longer will we be buying call time,  they’re now mobile data terminals with the power of desktop computing at our fingertips.

Also on the show this week:

  • Adam Turner has mixed success downloading movies with TiVo
  • Windows 7 set to come online sooner than later,
  • Apple to make their own chips and
  • Conroy reckons the NBN will be cheaper than first thought