From high-tech luxury to everday item: The smartphone

For most of us, mobile phones are an essential part of our ordinary life.
Nearly everybody has one and frequently deals with it. Its latest species are the so-called smartphones.
In one of my former blog posts “10 Things for having a smartphone”, I already dealed with this issue from my personal point of view and in with a limited focus. Now, I try to swift from the consumer’s view to a manager’s view. Therefore, I will try to explore the evolution of smartphones dealing with the following questions: How did it progress? How did this business start, how did it develop until now and how might it change in the future?

Interesting articles concerning this current issue (and a lot more) can be found on the homepage of „Technology Review”, an independent media company owned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
In his article “Are Smart Phones Spreading Faster than Any Technology in Human History?”, Michael Degusta, founder of “Steel Card, LLC” writes about smartphones becoming the fastest spreading technology comparing to former technologies. His thesis is supported by data he found in “Wall Street Journal”:

Mobile phones reached a saturation of the market in just 20 years whereas the installment of electricity cables and telephone wires, his so-called “last mile-problems”, appeared to spread more slowly.  He thinks that smartphones are on the way to reach the same saturation time and that tablets might even spread faster. Nevertheless, he points out that it is not easy to draw conclusions from the data today available: Due to him, the data does not include global information and it is furthermore difficult to track every technology.

Degusta’s article has been commented by several people. One of them is Michael Mace, well-known tech industry blogger and consultant, CEO of Cera Technology and former director of Mac platform marketing. His comment about Degusta’s article: “You’re comparing apples to oranges here.” He marks that besides the smartphone, all the technologies that have been listed are new sectors of products acquiring big changes. In his opinion, “smartphones are a direct replacement for the mobile phone that was already in the pocket or purse of most people in the developed world”.  Consequently, it would be logical that they spread faster. He thinks that smartphones should rather be compared to other substitutes like Blue-Ray player or Flat Screen TV in terms of their role as substitute.

Nevertheless, one is able to see a certain progress, might it be “the fastest spread in human history” or just a little step for something to become huge. In my following blog posts, I will try to analyze the past, the present and the future situation in smartphone eco-systems.

If you stay curious about the topic, you might explore absolutely fascinating facts about a modern and fast developing industry.

3 responses to “From high-tech luxury to everday item: The smartphone

  1. Pingback: Retrospect #4 : Slowing it down | BLOG OR DIE TRYIN'·

  2. Hey!
    Your blog post is really informative and gives a great overview on the development of the smartphone market. It is a new perspective for me, to compare smartphones to other IT products and I am really curious about your next posts.
    However, I agree with the criticism that you mention in the last paragraph, that comparing smartphones to other substitutes would make more sense, rather than comparing it to mobile phones.
    What do you think about that? And did you find an other comparison, not to mobile phones, but to other substitutes?
    Well, I also like your shift of perspective, from the consumer to the manager. It would be great, if you went on with the manager´s point of view, as it is more in our interest.
    All in all: Great post!

  3. Very informative post, Nicole!
    I’ve never thought about smartphones this way because, as you said, everybody has them nowadays and it was such a smooth transition from ‘normal’ mobile phones to smartphones that it is hard to remember how life without apps used to be.

    The sources you used add to the professional style of your post and the chart visualizes the development of the different devices.
    Like Sabrina, I also agree with Michael Mace’s opinion, since smartphones didn’t just fall out of the sky, but rather were the next logical step.

    Even though I haven’t read your first post about smartphones, I think it is important that you look at both sides, the consumer’s as well as the manager’s, since business is dependent on what consumers want or what they are willing to be convinced of.

    Keep up the great work!

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