27 Jan 2011
By Warwick Bray

Coming to a (small) screen near you: The year ahead in mobile tech


I’ve just returned from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas where more than 2700 vendors previewed more than 20,000 new gadgets and technologies. For Telstra’s product and technology teams, attending the Show gives us a chance to spot the best upcoming product so that we can bring it to Australia.

Based on our glimpse at the year ahead in mobile tech, I think there’s a lot to be excited about. Here are some of the big developments Aussies (including our Next G™ customers) can look forward to.
Motorola ATRIX 4G

Bigger, brighter (3D?) screens

This year we can expect thinner smartphones with bigger, brighter, higher resolution screens.

While screens are set to become bigger and brighter, tech firms are busy pioneering new battery technology that will ensure phone and mobile tablet endurance doesn’t suffer.

One vendor Sharp, previewed glasses-free 3D screen technology for smartphones. While many have met the concept with scepticism the experience is actually pretty good and we expect to see 3D make its way into some Aussie mobiles and tablets this year. We think it will be popular amongst gamers and for playing back movies.

Even more powerful smartphones

The race is on amongst smartphone makers to pack even more powerful processing power into phones. This year, for the first time, mobiles will feature dual core processors which promise to deliver faster web browsing, better mobile gaming graphics and snappier multitasking. In short, smartphones in 2011 will have the processing grunt once reserved for PCs.

Tablet range set to explode

While Apple led the tablet market almost unchallenged in 2010, this year everyone is preparing a tablet range. And with research from market watcher Nielsen claiming one in four Aussies are considering buying a mobile tablet this year, appetite for these touch screen gadgets is certainly building.

The wave of tablets set to land on our shores will mean choice for consumers. This year Aussies will be able to select from a range of price points, operating systems and screen sizes (with screens set to range from seven to 11 inches). Most will feature front-facing cameras to facilitate mobile video conferencing.

We saw some very impressive Next G™ compatible tablets running upcoming Google Android software. Watch this space.

Smartphones will double as home entertainment hubs and PCs

Smartphones have already lightened our bags and pockets by integrating high-quality MP3 players, cameras and video cameras. In 2011 mobile phone makers reckon smartphones can replace even more of our standalone gadgets.

In the home, smartphones will increasingly talk to our smart TVs perhaps reducing our reliance on DVD players and networked storage. This year many vendors will include HDMI connections in their smartphone designs that allow owners to connect a phone to an HD TV and playback, photos, movies saved to your phone and home videos (captured on your smartphone of course).

Other smartphones will take advantage of wireless transfer technology called DLNA. DLNA is being embedded in both smart TVs and mobile devices and makes it possible for consumers to stream content to the big screen without wires.

Going further still, Motorola reckons the smartphone could replace the laptop. While at CES we took a look at the Atrix (pictured in the header of this blog) which features a dual operating system and can be teamed with an all-in-one keyboard and 11-inch screen accessory that transforms the smartphone into a laptop. Cleverly the laptop accessory runs by tapping the phone’s processor, memory and mobile internet connection.

Smartphone internet speeds to jump

This year phones will serve up the mobile internet faster as vendors use chipsets capable of taking advantage of speeds available on fast mobile networks. Some mobiles in the pipeline will deliver speeds up to three times faster than today when connected to advanced networks like the Next G™ network. That means even faster page loads and snappier media streaming.

Over to you, what mobile tech advances are you looking forward to this year?


Posts: 7


  1. Nathan (Telstra Employe) says:

    Definitely looking forward to trying out the BlackBerry playbook when it comes out….did you get a chance to have a look at one while at CES?

    • Michael Lewis says:

      Nathan, the big disappointment for me at CES was the Playbook. If you are a corporate BlackBerry user you will be used to having your BlackBerry and office email synchronise – so whatever you do on one can be reflected on the other.

      Not so with the Playbook. The RIM folk who gave me the demonstration advised it had to be within bluetooth range (or – dare I even attempt to say it….cabled…..) to synchronise between the two devices.

      On the other hand, the real hit for me was definately the Motorola Atrix. In my opinion, definately the BEST product at the show from an innovation and “wow factor” perspective.

  2. Tony says:

    So many of us sit at our desk to do our day job. With laptop equivalent power in our pocket how will work change ?

  3. Peter says:

    Looking forward to phones with Nvidia’s tegra 2 chips. Dual core mobile, multi-tasking on the hardware level

  4. Nemo says:

    Sounds like an exciting year to look forward to… can’t wait for dual core smartphones and honeycomb tablets…

    By the way when is Telstra rolling out 4G or LTE ?

  5. John (Telstra Employee) says:

    I’m looking forward to the release of the new Motorola Atrix. It promises to replace my existing mobile phone, Samsung Galaxy Tab and laptop, all in a single unit. Very impressive.

    • sam s. says:

      Sam here. Its sounds like an exciting phone to have, especially with a docking station. Might not need the laptop?

  6. Daim Dev says:

    Really hope you guys bring out the Motorola Xoom, looks awesome and total iPad killer.
    Just hope you don’t take forever to bring it like the HTC HD7 (still waiting).

  7. mark ereira says:

    This is the way of the future,but Telstra knowing the growth of wireless broadband, will need to be able to meet the obvious demand, in terms of available data, there is a demand from wireless customers with children and their education needs to be able to avail themselves of todays demand, the 12GB top data plan is a sad case in point, and when we are talking about dual processors and the need for speed, I am at a complete loss as to why Telstra shapes this poor data of 12GB with a primitive 64kbps speed that belongs in the museum of time. yes I am excited about the oversees progress, but am very skeptical as to whether or not Telstra is capable of providing for the full needs and real demands of its customers.

  8. spatch says:

    With Motorola releasing the Atrix first on AT&T, this phone and it’s amazing accessories are already Next G™ compatible. I really want this phone to come to Telstra, so c’mon guys: MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!

  9. Douglas says:

    Agreed, I’d love a Xoom, our maybe one of the rumored HTC tablets…

  10. Michael says:

    In the last couple of months my iPad has taken over from my MacBook Pro. Give it another year I can’t see why the majority of people won’t prefer a tablet device over a laptop.

    The next two years we should see real growth in application development and content development for these tablet devices. It’s exciting times, reminds me of the mid 80′s.

    I concurr with the comment above, Telstra please give us larger data plans the 12G (365 days) for $150 is good, how about 24G for $250?

  11. Dennis says:

    agree with the call on bigger (and cheaper) data plans – the range of hardware is exciting but it will be useless without content.

    wireless connectivity both in and out of the house via smartphones is also another thing i’m looking forward to!

  12. jamesb says:

    I’m waiting for the Atrix too. The ability to use it for work while travelling, using remote desktop or VNC viewer software will be fantastic. I just hope android is improving their real time audio processing capabilities. That lack is what’s keeping with the iPhone for now. I’d also be looking forward to larger amounts of data for wireless prepaid broadband (24G for 365 days would be about right I agree).

  13. Scott says:

    I wouldn’t mind to see the HTC Inspire 4G on our shores too. I wanted to renew my contract with the HTC Desire HD because of its large screen but since the carrier is having problems, i’ve held off from it.

    But if Telstra brings in either ATRIX or Inspire 4G. I’d be happy to be a Telstra customer again.

  14. Corporate Sham(e) says:

    Will we see outright prices on some of these devices (should they be available for outright purchase) reflect the strong Australian dollar?
    No, I don’t think so either…

  15. i have mixed feelings if i want telstra to get the atrix because they WILL f*ck it up. they WILL fill it with there bloatware. it WILL be stupidly overpriced or have useless plans attached. any updates for it, you WILL wait 6 months. but they do have the coverage. man it sucks. but now telstra, you have the chance to prove me wrong. but i wont be wrong. i prove it all to you when it comes out.

    now the story of my HTC Desire that i have had sent away 3 times for repair for unresponding touchscreen (every time it comes back not fixed) and after being told i have to send it 3 times before i can get a replacement, when it came back after the 3rd time from “repair” they told me they have to send it back AGAIN a 4th time to determine it to be faulty. so again, for the 4th time, i played by there rules and they sent it off again. that was over a month ago (sent: 21/12/10) and am still left with a crap old lend phone they give you which ive almost had for longer than my HTC desire im paying $80 a month.
    Customer service? what customer service. most of the people who work at the stores dont know how to unlock an android device let alone anything about the phones. all they care about in the stores is to get you to sign a big fat chunk of the next 2 years of your pay check away and then anything that happens after that is bad luck.


    • missij says:

      david join the club – I couldn’t even use the desire as a phone as I would have to rip the battery out to end a call. I ended up escalating my complaint and sent the phone back and got out of my contract.

    • David Lindsay says:

      thanks for reading my rant missij
      yeah i think im going to go down and tell them to cancel my plan and they can just keep my phone if it ever comes back from repair. did they try and make you pay a cancelation fee? or do they just let you off if you’ve been thru enough crap?

  16. graeme scott says:

    Bring out an underclocked dual 0.8Ghz ATRIX with the same physical capabilities and range as a Defy to bring the Defy-II/Defiance to market, and it will be the first time in my life I’ll buy something to replace something I already have working fine.
    Motorola is making some good stuff… it could be better with a less ‘motorolarised’ android UI but still, I wouldn’t have thought they’d be my pick over Apple.


  17. Ron says:

    People what bought a telstra tablet be beware there are no accessories nor replacement parts available.My charger is not working anymore.It was not possible to get a replacement from a telstra store.I bought the tablet 3month ago outright.To fix the problem telstra needs to send the hole unit (charger and tablet) away. What a laugh! Also I would have to provide my credit card details.I sought I am hearing not right.So I took my brocken charger and tablet and left the store.What a service!! There is no car charger no carry bag no docking station nor any replacements.Telstra be a good australien and improve your service.Remember the customer pays your salary.

  18. mark ereira says:

    ISP Internode has given users of its Easy Broadband plans an option of unmetered uploads and faster shaping of excess traffic with two power pack add-ons launched today.

    For a $10-a-month premium on their normal broadband package, customers would receive a static IP address, no counting of uploads in quota amounts and a shaped speed of 512 Kbps when they went over their monthly data quota.

    Come on Telstra you are treating your wireless users with contempt

  19. graeme says:

    Yes, I too am hoping for the Motorola Atrix to be released on Telstra. But I will need battery tests done before I commit. Since the battery life on smart phones is one of the biggest problems for business users. No good having all bells and whistles if you have no dingers or breath, as my grandfathers cabbie used to say.
    Battery technology and life is for me the key to happiness with my smartphone. Motorola Atrix is looking promising in this regard.

  20. JD says:

    PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZE telstra, can u release a htc tablet (preferably the htc jetstream. THX!!!

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