Last week, the findings of a Pew Research Center study were released and it was reported that baby boomers are starting to adopt smartphones and the mobile Internet. While this is slower than other segments of the population – and according to the study boomers need to see what they get before taking the plunge – it is the mobile Internet that will likely drive boomers to the smartphone market.
But even among boomers there is a notable break in usage. It is the younger boomers, those aged 45-to-54 that are more likely to use touchscreen feature phones, smartphones and the mobile Web over the older boomers. This shouldn’t be entirely surprising, however. For younger boomers, devices like TV were more established than with their older siblings who may actually remember a time from childhood when there was no TV in the house. It is also worth considering that for older boomers, they’ve seen a vast number of changes that today we take for granted.
Sony to Deliver an iPad Challenger
The Wall Street Journal has gotten word that Sony might be looking to challenge the Apple iPad. The rumored device would combine the functionality of a netbook, an e-reader and Sony’s own PSP (PlayStation Portable) handheld gaming system. This report follows a press conference in which Sony’s CFO, Nobuyuki Oneda, noted that Sony was looking to compete against the iPad.
This also follows news that the latest Sony Ericsson mobile phone would be capable of playing PSP games. This isn’t to be confused with the long-rumored PSP phone, a device that would be a PSP on one side and a smartphone on the other. Rumors of such a handset have been circulating for years, notably as Sony and rival Nintendo were battling for the handheld video gaming market. Nintendo had the dominant player in this space for years since launching the original GameBoy in the late 1980s.
The GameBoy fended off a series of competitors, but the most serious rival was the PSP, which combined gaming with other entertainment functionality – notably movie playback via a proprietary disc format. Ironically, Apple’s iPhone has become the new de facto standard for mobile gaming, which is even more ironic when you consider that Apple has never even tried to be a significant player in the desktop PC game market.
For years, mobile phones had been an untapped (at least successfully) market for gaming, and the arrival of the iPhone changed all that. The handset also redefined the way people used handsets for entertainment on the go. Clearly Sony doesn’t want to lose this market so easily, and it looks like it could be ready to throw down and fight.
What is notable, at least as someone following this from the sidelines, is that Nintendo has been the company to adapt the least. It remains the maker of a handheld gaming device and it is focusing its core business on gaming, first and foremost. Sony however, being a consumer electronics and entertainment company, is trying once again (as it did with the PSP) to create a do-it-all device. But maybe this is why Apple is really successful in this space, it has created a handset that was a phone that ran apps, and it let the developers fill the void. It isn’t that Apple even has the best apps, it is that it has so many apps.