Over the last decade, we have witnessed technology develop from being something we were just becoming familiar with and slowly embracing, to what it has become now. Contemporary people now have a dependence on being able to communicate with our friends and colleagues wherever and whenever we need to, being able to access and share media on any device, and being able to work on the go and collaborate your ideas and documents with people across the globe. Technology has become truly invaluable to the modern world, and without it the world would suffer from drastic social and economic consequences.
A strand of technology that has played a prominent role in this development is human communications and interface technology. The smart phone has proven to be the first fully embraced instance of this technology, allowing people to stay constantly connected with the internet and their friends wherever they may be. After exploring this technology in more detail and outlining its impact and our reliance on it, secondary technological advances will be explored. Such secondary advances make the progression of this strand of technology possible, with the innovation of virtual reality proving to only enhance the functionality of modern smart phones.
The way we interact with the world around us has developed significantly since the first desktop computers. First access to the internet for general, public use was really only available to those who were able to afford the large, expensive desktop computer systems, but as computing evolved and smaller, higher performing systems were becoming more available and affordable, our dependence on having this connection to the internet was also developing. The trend continues to grow with the continued adoption of computing. The next major step for how we interact with online content is using a portable device like the laptop. At first these were underpowered, expensive, and unreliable when compared to desktop computers, but as they also developed so did their acceptance. For the first time though, laptop sales surpassed that of desktops in the third quarter of 2008 (Goldsborough, 2010). Smart phones were the next key step influencing our interaction.
The introduction of smart phones showed the real power of the internet, and of portable computing. Our society has; within a short period, moved from having intermittent access to some information over the internet, to having more consistent access around the home and workplace with portable computing, to now having constant access to a wide range of information, media and networking over the internet, which is now accessible from almost anywhere you need it. Portable communication was also a comparably young technology with portable computing, but the combination of the two has been widely accepted and embraced. Ni and Zheng (2006) describe a smart phone as being a “next-generation, multi-functional cell phone that provides voice communication and text-messaging...