Inspired by the 40th anniversary of the first ever mobile phone call I wrote a piece for the Somo blog on where I see the mobile going in the near future.
40 years ago today the first mobile phone call was made by Martin Cooper at Motorola, who called a rival at another telecoms company to gloat that he was first to call from a cellular phone. Well done Motorola, you kicked off something huge!
Fast-forward 40 years and mobile phones have come a long way – today, a mobile ‘phone’ means more to us than a way to make phone calls. Modern smartphones are super-computers in our pockets with a phone antenna attached. Smartphones allow us to communicate in new ways – we text, we email, we post to social media, we communicate via pictures and video, we read, we consume. We look to our smartphones to entertain us; we play games, listen to music in new ways, and even augment traditional pass times such as TV or magazines. Our smartphones are widely considered our most personal device and we trust them to hold our most personal details – our memories, our bank details, even the keys to our homes.
Just as Martin Cooper and co. would no doubt have trouble predicting where their mobile phone would end up in 40 years, we too have the same trouble (I’m going with something to do with lasers), however, we can make some good guesses on where mobile will be in a few years.
The ‘phone’ bit is most likely to go!
We know that smartphones are more like computers than phones. According to O2 only 9% of time is now spent using the voice functionality of the modern smartphone, with 11% time spent playing games, and 19% browsing the internet. Usage is shifting, and after getting 3G on my iPad mini, I can personally see how an ‘always connected’ device without phone functionality is still extremely useful. Plus, calls can be made using VOIP when needed.
’Mobile’ devices are more than phones
Whilst tablets have been around for a long time, the iPad’s launch in 2010 suddenly forced us to question the role of these new devices. Were they mobile? Now we consider tablets as a mobile device and have to plan experiences accordingly to work across different screen sizes and user contexts. With Google Glass coming, the rumoured iWatch / Android watch, even persistently connected cars, how do we treat these? They are certainly mobile but they offer new screens, new contexts, new ways to think about the term ‘mobile’.
All companies will think mobile
Whilst many companies have ventured into mobile, many have still not. Accessing content, sites, or experiences will happen away from the traditional desktop computer. Brands, content providers, and companies of all shapes and sizes will offer solutions to cater for this. Whilst there will be those that are better than others, I cannot imagine a world where companies are not offering content tailored to the mobile user.
We don’t know where exactly the mobile phone will be in the future, but be sure that we will keep you informed every step of the way.
Congratulations Mr. Cooper, we salute you! Without your first phone call Somo would not be here.