Beginning today, my focus is shifting from office technology for small and medium business to mobile devices and trends. This is exciting for me because as I’ve mentioned (probably too many times) I’m the sort of mobile power user that has more than one handset.
The third screen, as mobile has been billed, is where the playing field is leveled for users around the world. In fact, it is often surprising for Americans to find out that we actually trail many parts of the world. The reason is simple; we have had excellent landlines and typically very reliable and affordable traditional phone service. OK, that might be hard to believe considering those old long distance phone bills, but given the size of the country and the number of people in the United States, it has had excellent phone service. So unlike other developing countries, we didn’t have the same necessity to advance our mobile communication.
The next frontier in communications is mobile. And while it is easy to think “we’re there,” we still have a ways to go. While nearly everyone has a mobile device (and many have more than one), we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg on what mobile phones can do.
As I’ve stressed in past articles and columns, the mobile phone is more than just a phone. While the numbers haven’t yet been released, it is estimated that the recent Beijing Olympics were the most watched event on a mobile phone – and this trend is only likely to rise. Just as likely to increase is the role mobile phones will have for games, entertainment and news. In parts of Africa, South America and Asia, where TV ownership trails other parts of the world, mobile phone ownership is on the rise and this is the platform for the delivery of the aforementioned games, entertainment and news.
The world is indeed going mobile!
AT&T Technology Showcase
So what’s on the horizon for mobile and mobile convergence technology? Greater connectivity between the mobile phone (and in this case the Apple iPhone) and the TV is just part of what we can expect, at least according to AT&T. The company hosted the AT&T Technology Showcase, where chief technology officer John Donovan introduced the attendees to what might just be part of what we’ll be seeing and using tomorrow.
In some ways the event was a reminder of that mid-1990s commercial that featured a voiceover by Tom Selleck. But instead of merely canned demos, today’s event, which took part at the AT&T Long Lines Building (now known simply as 33 Thomas Street), showcased a number of new applications, devices and technology. The goal of these new innovations, said Donovan, was to “remove cords” and provide a better “common experience for all users.”
This included such “why didn’t they do that before” applications, such as being able to see who is calling you on your cellphone with a prompt on your TV. Thus you don’t need to look at the phone to see who is calling. Simple stuff, but something that is handy and useful.