Thursday, July 12, 2012

Our Future Is In Our Pocket

I believe that within 5 years, the smart phone will be formally inducted as the must-have wallet/communicator/connector in our lives.  It will be the instrument that we carry to identify who we are, update us on news, entertain us with music, text, and video, pay for all our purchases, and capture our life's moments.  Most of that is already happening today; we just will watch as it becomes the key device that we will rely on daily.

It is becoming evident that leading digital companies are finally figuring out what Apple saw five years earlier with the introduction of the iPhone.  So Google has bought Motorola Mobility in order to build its own smartphone and Microsoft is eager to get in the market as well, finally deciding that it too needs to build its own device.  And now we have learned that Amazon, a company leading the online shopping world wants to enter this competitive marketplace too.  "This news comes as several outlets including Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal are reporting that Amazon is working on a smartphone to rival the iPhone and Android phones."

Notice that each of these companies are building hardware, no one is touching the digital pipeline to connect information to and from the smartphone.  Is it that there is less money to be made by investing in a wireless industry.  Is the pipeline seen as an unsexy business, unlike the hardware side of the smartphone with its fancy touch screen, apps, and tools?  But the pipeline remains a key attribute that can make the respective device run fast or slow, connect or freeze, complete the transaction or leave us "disconnected".

As to the rise of new competitors in the smartphone industry, it clearly indicates that the movement to make the smartphone the ultimate tool for each human being, young and old, is on.  And as a connected device, it provides us with many advantages.  At the same time, it has also caused us to lose a bit of our anonymity and privacy; we are tracked  and measured, targeted and attacked with ads customized to our behavior.  If we can accept that, the smartphone is well on its way to being the wallet in our pocket, the phone for our home, and the screen to be seen.  And that is why Microsoft and Amazon and I'm sure others to follow want their hardware to rule the pocket.

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