[sws_blue_box box_size="575"]Stephen Fry traces the evolution of the mobile phone, from hefty executive bricks that required a separate briefcase to carry the battery, to the smartphones available today. There are more mobile phones in the world than there are people on the planet. Stephen Fry talks to the backroom boys who made it all possible, and here’s how the technology succeeded in ways that the geeks had not necessarily intended. For example, the engineers who designed the early texting facilities didn’t imagine that anyone might want to reply. (Just in case, they added a short list of possible pre-set answers: yes, no, and maybe).
They also thought taxifones and fax machines for your car would be winners. In the early 90s, Nokia, then famous for toilet paper and rubber boots, was on the brink of collapse; until the new CEO made a bold decision to focus solely on mobile phones…. Thanks to Margaret Thatcher opening up the airwaves, Britain became a world leader in mobile phone technology. And today, 85% of the silicon chips inside all mobiles are designed by just one Cambridge-based company. Series produced by Anna Buckley.[/sws_blue_box]
I love Stephen Fry. Whether it’s the comedic antics of Fry and Laurie, his excellent approach as quiz-master of QI or his various documentaries and programmes on language, knowledge and – in this case – mobile phones, I always find him utterly charming. This month I had the opportunity to listen to two radio show series with Fry: Stephen Fry Does The Knowledge and Stephen Fry on the Phone.
As the description suggests, this is something of a potted history of the mobile phone. It’s relatively short so it needs to be concise, tracing its conception to its current-day, almost obsessive, necessity in our very modern society in just 75 minutes. In and amongst the technological histories are various anecdotes and snippets from Fry himself as well as several people who were key players in the industry or were simply around to witness these rapid changes.
Who would have thought that the text messaging would take off? Well, apparently, less people than you’d imagine. I still chuckle at the thought that nobody expected people to have the patience to send anything more than a stock message (‘Be home late’ or ‘On way now’). Sigh – if they could see us now. But wait – they can! This technology has advanced remarkably quickly and this is a fun and informative summary of how and why.
It was no surprise to me that Fry was an adept presenter of this programme and this was a wonderful listen. 75 minutes of pure pleasure and the chance to bask if the glow of Stephen Fry - a master, it seems, of whatever he turns his hand to.
Presented by Stephen Fry
Source: I received a review copy via Amazon Vine
[sws_button class="" size="sws_btn_small" align="" href="http://tweedling.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/wNGiI2" target="_blank" label="Amazon" template="sws_btn_linen" textcolor="" bgcolor="" bgcolorhover="" glow="sws_btn_glow_cornflower"] [/sws_button][sws_button class="" size="sws_btn_small" align="" href="http://tweedling.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/13271082-stephen-fry-on-the-phone" target="_blank" label="Goodreads" template="sws_btn_linen" textcolor="" bgcolor="" bgcolorhover="" glow="sws_btn_glow_cornflower"] [/sws_button][/sws_yellow_box]