By Daniel Hunter

Shopping will be central for the continued evolution of mobile phones, as the industry celebrates forty years since the first mobile call was made.

Industry leaders are now creating innovative ways for the mobile phone, particularly the smartphone, to be used for a variety of uses which includes interactive and user-friendly shopping applications.

Some £7.5 billion was spent on mobile phones in 2012, according to IMRG Capgemini figures. Throughout 2012, growth rates for mobile phone sales were consistently around 300%. Many are predicting further growth for mobile shopping as consumers are aided by innovations from retailers and technology developers.

The combination of faster and more reliable mobile broadband connections, the ubiquity of Bluetooth and creative app design have enabled new ways for shopping to be done and payments to be made, away from conventional browser based shopping sites. mPowa, the first company in the UK to offer a mobile payment service has positioned the smartphone as a key part of a wider payment infrastructure that allows shoppers to have a more personal and helpful shopping experience.

Dan Wagner, the CEO of mPowa, said that the future lies in this type of innovation within mobile phone technology.

“The mobile phone has gone on a journey of achievement over the last forty years that has now culminated in the diversification of the smartphone as an invaluable business tool and centre of the shopping experience," he said.

"Over recent years, the mobile phone has become a major channel through which people carry out their shopping and so it is important that we create the tools that allow shoppers to go beyond the traditional browser based shopping trip.

“Within the next few years, we could see the mobile phone overtaking the PC as the main way that people access the internet, particularly with online shopping. It is the one device that everyone carries at all times and so there is scope for it to evolve rapidly as a key tool for connectivity.”

mPowa is the market leader and one of the fastest growing companies in its sector. mPowa’s payment system works by inserting a credit card into a compact card reader, which then communicates with a mobile device via Bluetooth, enabling merchants to accept payments on the move. This type of service will boost productivity and convenience for businesses and also help to increase take up of smartphones created by the likes of Google, Apple and Nokia.

Dan continued, “Mobile payments show the progress that has been made within mobile phones over the last forty years. The mPowa device that works with all smartphones can now replace the large and bulky credit card machines and provide additional services not currently seen in in-store credit card acceptance units. It is a great example of how a mobile phone can offer a service that is more portable, convenient and smaller than what is currently available elsewhere.

"For consumers, it means that their shopping trips no longer have to take place in the same linear format they have taken since high street shops were created. They are now free to interact with store assistants on the shop floor, and take part in a more personal shopping experience. It really is remarkable how far the mobile phone has come.”

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