It’s been just over 20 years since the mobile phone made its debut as an over-sized, brief case with voice call capabilities exclusive to the upper class and business professionals with big expense accounts and a company to pay the 4-figure bill each month. In the 90’s, the concept of a mobile lifestyle meant being away from home or the office, sacrificing access to information, staying in touch via a calling card or payphone and dial up Internet access.
Today, a mobile lifestyle is about connectivity in the office, at home, or on-the-go, and it has become the norm. It seems that nearly everyone, at every age and every income level has a mobile device. Whether it’s a feature phone, a smartphone or a tablet, life is now mobile. We are undoubtedly connected to our devices day and night-the chime of a savvy ringtone to wake us in the morning, the navigation to get us to our next destination, the latest Top 40 song playing as our friend in Sweden calls, and let’s not forget about Google. We Google everything, because we can, no matter when or where we are, our devices enable us to do so. With over half a billion people accessing the mobile Internet and the expectation for that to double in the next five years, it’s apparent that mobile has rapidly changed our lives. Mobile is life and life has become mobile.
With over 5.3 billion mobile subscribers worldwide, it’s one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the world-not to mention dynamic. With such a significant demand and rapidly evolving technologies, the pressure on device manufacturers, operators and software developers is greater than ever before. Previously, consumers were on the receiving end of whatever the latest technologies were- slimmer, sleeker designs, a new OS to learn, and mobile apps. Now, the consumer has become the dictator-driving developers and manufacturers to personalize and customize features and capabilities to their liking. You’ve got the business-minded “crackberrys,” the tween “texters”, the sophisticated iPhone “techies” and the forgotten “flip phoners” who just want to phone home. There’s a phone for everyone, yet there is one common thread-they are all mobile.
Today our mobile devices facilitate our lives. They enable us to do more in less time and consolidate the need for multiple devices from-computers and laptops to land lines, faxes, printers, and cameras. What’s next for mobile? Inevitably we will see more feature rich phones with greater capabilities. Today’s Internet enabled smartphones with their high megapixel cameras will become the norm and we’ll see desktop-like capabilities packed into pint sized devices.