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March 14, 2013 by Dan Nixon
The mobile phone world is full of technologies that are here one minute and gone the next; it is the nature of the business, and just the way things evolve.
Everything moves on and things fall out of favour, with consumers and the buying public. Think of a time when Nokia was number one, and Apple was just a maker of shiny computers.
That said, we’re going to stop the nostalgia and bring to your attention some of the choice pieces of mobile phone technology that was sadly ahead of the game but never really given the chance to succeed.
The first in our list of unsung devices is the Motorola Lapdock. This was a ‘dumb’ device that could be connected to the Motorola ATRIX Android phone, turning the pair into a fully functioning laptop.
It first came out in 2011, providing access to a lightweight Linux operating system, powered by the Motorola handset. That allowed the likes of watching movies, editing documents, and surfing the Internet with a fully functioning desktop version of the Firefox web browser.
The Lapdock came in two different versions, with either a 10.1-inch or 14-inch display, as well as Ethernet and VGA sockets for full connectivity.
This was one of those devices that was rather bespoke and only useful to a compatible phone, but it did extended the functionality of the mobile. It was clearly ahead of its time as we are now starting to see evolutions of this concept from the likes of Asus.
That company is now on its third generation of Padfones – a mobile phone than can be slotted into a dumb tablet, turning it into a fully functioning device. That in turn, can be added to a sturdy docking-keyboard, enabling the entire set-up to be used as an Android-powered laptop.
This is in our roundup not because of the WebOS that run the handsets, but rather the way it could be charged.
The Palm Pre was announced at Las Vegas’ Consumer Electronics Show in January 2009. This phone had a backing plate, which could be used with its Touchstone accessory, allowing it to be recharged wirelessly.
It didn’t really take off as an emerging technology, but that now comes as a standard feature in the LG-made Google Nexus 4, Nokia Lumia 920 and is bound to be a fixture in many mobile phones to come.
Our last inclusion that was ahead of the game also came out in 2009, was made by LG and sold by Orange.
This was something that was quite bespoke and could really be confined to the realms of gadgetry. The piece of mobile tech could be used to make calls, for text messages and also video calling – all from the wrist of its user.
That’s right, it was a watch phone – in the same vein as the one Dick Tracy used, or those that appear in any number of Sci-Fi films (the list is endless). It worked well, but it was a novelty (and an expensive one at £500).
If rumours are to be believed, Apple could very well be prepping a device of a similar nature – putting the LG GD910 four, or even five years (by the time it comes out) ahead of the game.
This is a guest post by Rob Kerr, a contributing editor to the mobile phone comparison site Omio.
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