Mobile phones are small, portable devices used for voice or data communication using cellular radio networks. In recent years, the technology of mobile phones has advanced much and many additional features have been added such as digital cameras, video recording, internet and email.
These are devices used for storing and playing music. The music is stored digitally as files in formats such as MP3 and WMA. Although the devices are small they can store up to 160 GB of data or around 50,000 songs. People can therefore take their entire music library with them wherever they go.
Machines used to store data and perform complex calculations using sets of instructions called programs. They can be used to carry out many tasks such as word processing, graphics and electronic communication.
A system of sending and receiving pictures and sound by means of electronic signals transmitted through wires and optical fibres or by electromagnetic radiation. (MSN Encarta). Television is a source of information and entertainment. Recently television technology has developed and digital television has become more and more used with better picture quality and more channels.
General Effects of Electronic Systems in Society
* Electronics allow widespread access to information so people can quickly and easily find out about important news etc. through the internet and television.
* Improved medical care due to electronic systems in hospitals like life support and scanning machinery.
* Easy communication with the use of telephones, mobile phones and the internet. People can easily communicate with each other wherever they are.
* Reduced cost of manufacture as less workers are needed and machinery can quickly produce lots of products.
* Theft is made easy because of people’s details being kept on electronic databases that can be accessed undetected.
* Easy access to information can be bad as well if the information was not intended to be made available such as leaked information or personal information.
* Electronics have allowed more antisocial behaviour to take place due to things like cyber-bullying.
* Many people have become lazy as electronics have eliminated the need for people to do things for themselves such as online shopping stopping people from going out or computer games stopping children from doing sports.
* Crime has increased as mobile phones are an increasing target for theft.
General Analysis of Social, Economic and Environmental Effects of Electronics
The social impact of electronics on society is generally beneficial as communication technology has improved greatly as a result of electronics and it is easier for people to communicate with each other. Also, entertainment has improved with the introduction of televisions and game consoles and people have been provided with much more things to do. This could also have a negative impact as people could become lazy and watch TV or play computer games instead of doing exercise. Electronics have provided us with greater access to information which society has benefited from.
Electronics also have a great economic impact on society as rapid developments can lead to devices becoming obsolete very quickly and the cost of replacing them is very great. They also have a positive impact on the economy as lots of people buy expensive electronic products and the companies that manufacture them receive huge profits. Electronics have provided many new jobs in areas such as IT.
There are significant environmental issues associated with electronics such as the fact that obsolescence causes much waste to be produced. Most of the waste cannot be recycled as it is non-biodegradable and batteries can contain poisonous substances that are hard to dispose of. The production of electronics can produce by products as waste which could be potentially harmful to people or the environment.
Electronics in Leisure
MP3 Players have changed the way that people enjoy music. Portable music was first introduced with portable cassette players which were invented around 1977. They allowed people to listen to music anywhere using headphones. Soon CDs were invented and a soon after in 1997 the first Digital Audio Player was produced. Digital Audio Players allow people to take music, in the form of digital files, everywhere they go in one small device. Some of the best MP3 players can store up to 160 GB or 50,000 songs which allows most people to take their entire music collection with them. MP3 players have recently been expanded to also hold other types of file such as video or pictures as well as sounds.
Mobile phones have developed massively in recent years and have changed a lot since the introduction of the first mobile phone service in 1978. When phones first came around they were large, heavy and impractical but developments in technology have made it possible to make phones that are incredibly small. Size is not the only thing that has improved in phones as a result of technological developments, also the number of different features that they have has increased from just a simple telephone, to a range of multimedia features such as: a digital camera, video recorder, and web browser. Technology in mobile phones is always advancing and new features such as high speed 3G phones that are capable of fast internet loading and video calls.
Television was first introduced around 1930 and has made a huge impact on society, providing news coverage and entertainment. Originally television was only in greyscale but in 1940 the first colour transmission was made and colour televisions were gradually introduced. Early television screens were cathode ray tube screens which were very large and had a fairly low resolution image. Recent developments have made it possible to make screens much flatter with a much higher quality picture. These new flat screens come in different types such as LCD and Plasma. Another fairly recent development is digital television which allows more channels and a higher quality picture to be transmitted.
Video game consoles have introduced a new form of entertainment to people. The first computer games appeared in the 1950s and have come a long way from their original, primitive form. The first games were very simple with few colours and only simple shapes but they have developed into high definition and look more like real life. The development of different types of media such as CDs and high definition discs has allowed games to be more complex as more storage space can be used. The most recent consoles are introducing new ways of gaming such as the Nintendo Wii which uses motion capture for a different and interesting gaming experience.
Computers are being used more and more for the purpose of leisure. The internet is a source of entertainment as it contains videos, games and social friend networks. Also computers are used for playing games. Computers that are faster and more powerful have allowed higher definition games to be played. More and more people are getting computers for leisure and now more than 100 million people connected to the internet. Computers are not only used in leisure, they are also used in many more areas such as hospitals and industry. Computers have made a huge impact on society and can be used in almost any situation.
Cameras are another device that has come a long way as a result of electronic developments. Analogue cameras use film which can be expensive and pictures cannot be viewed before they are developed. The introduction of digital cameras has changed the way that cameras are used as lots of pictures can be stored on one device and be deleted before they are printed. The quality of pictures that cameras can produce is always improving as new technology has allowed cameras using more pixels to be made such as cameras with 21 million pixels. This makes the image quality very high.
Mobile phones are constantly being updated and new features are regularly added. Recent developments in mobile phone technology are the use of 3G technology which can be used for high speed connection which allows the use of video calls, email video streaming and other services. The first 3G network was launched in Japan 2001 and since then there has been increasing network coverage for 3G networks. Major network companies in the UK such as Vodafone, Orange and O2 have made large investments in order to make 3G accessible to UK customers but coverage in large countries and third world countries is still low. The future holds the development of 4G mobile technology which will provide users with voice, data or streamed multimedia on an “Anytime, Anywhere” basis. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4G)
Blu-ray is a next-generation optical disk format that was developed to allow to enable recording, rewriting and playback of high-definition video and storage of large quantities of data. A dual layer Blu-ray disk is capable of holding 50GB of data. Instead of using a red laser to read the disk like conventional CDs, a Blu-ray disk is read by a blue-violet laser instead, hence the name Blu-ray. The use of a blue laser means that data can be packed more closely on the disk as blue light has a shorter wavelength than red light and the laser spot can be focused more precisely. More than 180 electronics companies support Blu-ray technology and the format has support from major film studios as the successor to the DVD.
Computers have been developed much in recent years. They are now faster, smaller and have increasing amounts of memory. Their increased performance has lead to increased integration of computers in society. Computers are now so versatile that they are used in a wide variety of situations. They are currently being integrated into systems with televisions and are used in many other areas such as in hospitals and industry. Computer are very fast now compared to what they used to be, with clock speed of up to several gigahertz and storage space on a commercial computer can be up to 1.5 terabytes on a single hard drive. The specifications of computers will most likely continue to improve as electronic developments are furthered.
Effects of Recent Developments on Society
Mobile phones are changing all the time. They are now smaller, cheaper and have more features than ever before. The cheapness of mobile phones allows more people to own them and stay in touch with each other at all times. The majority of people in the UK now own a mobile phone and this is mostly because of the ever lowering price. The integration of new features in mobile phones reduces the number of items that a person needs to own as a phone can now be used as a camera, video recorder, or music player so a person only needs to carry one item instead of four.
MP3 players are becoming cheaper which further secures them as the next portable music device. The reduction in price means that more people can afford to buy MP3 players and they are not out of reach to people with less money so they are more widely used. The memory they have has also increased much in recent years, allowing people to take more music with them and not have to narrow their collection down to only a few songs. They are also becoming smaller which means that they can be easily carried and have taken over cassette tapes as a small form of portable music.
The quality of image that a digital camera can produce has increased and so has their popularity over conventional analogue cameras. Reduction of cost has made digital cameras more available as more people can afford them and also there is no cost to maintain the camera as film is not needed which further reduces the cost. The high image resolution of over 20 Megapixels on some cameras means that that very high quality pictures can be taken so there is no worry about pixelation of images that is avoided on analogue cameras.
Positive and Negative Effects
* A positive effect of the development of consumer electronics is that jobs are provided in the research and development sector of electronics companies as there is more development and more demand for better electronic systems. This increases employment and improves the economy of a country.
* A negative effect of the development of MP3 players is that with the increase in use of digital music it is becoming more and more easy for people to illegally obtain music as it can be downloaded from internet sources. This means the artist gets less money and there is less incentive for musicians to make music.
* A positive effect effect of the development of electronics is that electronic systems become much cheaper and therefore available to people in poorer countries who could not afford them before.
Social, economic and environmental effects
The development of electronics in leisure has a great social impact on society. Mobile phones have allowed people to communicate more often and stay in touch. Electronics have helped people to socialise more but they can also be detrimental to social activity as game consoles and similar systems distract people from their lives and prevent them from going out and socialising.
The economic impact of electronics in leisure is largely beneficial as developing countries, such as those in South East Asia can earn money from producing electronic goods and trading them with other countries. They also provide many jobs for people in manufacturing or research and development.
The environmental effect of these electronic systems is that more waste is produced because of early obsolescence and some of the waste is potentially dangerous as batteries often contain poisonous metals. Also more electricity is being used as a result of more widely available electronics and more fossil fuels are being burned to keep up with demand. This contributes to global warming. The factories that produce electronics also pollute the atmosphere with waste gases.
Overall I would say that electronics in leisure are beneficial to society as they help the economy and help to connect people.
Analysis of ethical, European, cultural or moral impact of electronic developments
Greater development in systems used for communication make it easier to communicate with European partners. This improves connections with the rest of Europe for business and trade purposes and improves the economy of the UK.
The ability to broadcast images through television and other media has increased cultural awareness as different cultures can be shown to people without the people having to travel around the world. This new cultural awareness means that people know more about the world and the different cultures that are in it.