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What's Old Is Always New in Mobile Technology

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There is an old saying that a good idea will always be a good idea. And the same is true about technology. Fads in technology tend to happen almost as quickly as when it comes to the fashion world. One season's must have clothes are yesterday's news when it comes to the newest threads on the block. Yet you can be certain that somewhere down the road, they will be back again.

With technology, different hardware functions come and go with the latest models. Rubberised cases as standard, keypads, even colours are features that have been popular, gone away, only to come back again. You need only look at the iPhone 5C which has reintroduced different colours for handsets. It's something Nokia's were famous for, but as suddenly as they arrived, they were gone.

Time will tell if the iPhone 5C will make colours cool again. But if these technology trends are cyclical, then what could be the next blast from the past to be given a makeover in the age of the smartphone? Well, like any fashion designer would, let's look back at the past, take an idea and give it a new spin.

The biggest boom for mobile phones in the UK came at the turn of the century. Mobiles, once seen as yuppie accessories, started to gain a foothold. The price of the hardware came down, and the competition with the providers exploded. Now, everyone could have a phone, including teenagers and young people.

It's around this time we saw the craze for personalisation really take off. You could set a ring tone for a friend. Download wallpapers with images of your favourite signer of football club. Compare scores on Snake (and Snake II). Or you could set a piece of music for people to hear when they called you.

If you look at that era, pretty much all of it has been reinvented since then. Personalised ringtones are easily downloadable. Personalised wallpapers have been replaced by apps created for the incredible cameras phones now boast. And the days of Snake have long since been replaced by gaming apps which have eaten into the traditional gaming market. But no one has looked at ringback tones. It seems odd that with so many options to customise your phone, other people's first interaction with your phone has been left untouched.

Ringback tones are the noise you hear when you call someone. That tired, monotonous 'brrringgg, briinggg'. That noise is owned by the service provider and aside from a few limited experiments, has been left pretty much untouched for years. When you think that worldwide there are about 12 billion calls made to mobile phones each day, and the average time a ringback tone will last for is ten seconds, that's a lot of space to be creative. If you take these ten seconds, multiply them by 12 billion calls made a day, you can work out there are over two billion minutes of time that is waiting to be given the smartphone era redesign.

Like flares from the 70s or shoulder pads from the 80s, maybe it's here where we are set to see the next big comeback from technology.