Mobile Devices or Ipods? What We Really Want
It's Christmas. Apple's Ipods dominate. Mobile devices abound. While the average cell or smartphone offers storage for a few hundred songs at best, newer, more expensive mobile phones with internal hard drives have appeared--most, again, from our friends in Asia and Europe, who always get the most advanced mobile devices anyway. What's curious in watching the growth of mobile telephony is the manufacturers' desire to develop the ultimate phone, a phone or PDA that enhances your musical experience, keeps track of your schedule and tasks and, of course, snaps high res pictures and videos. Yet, I don't see digital cameras, camcorders or Ipods disaappearing from retail shelves. Neither do I see BlackBerry users, who bought their mobile devices primarily for email, throwing them away for a complex device that does it all. Perhaps this is my point. If a mobile manufacturer delivered a device matching an Ipod's 30GB storage, a 10 megapixel camera, BlackBerry-like email and streaming video, the market for it would be very small. People seem to like electronic devices that do one thing well--whether playing music, taking pictures or calling their friends. They resist the complex and cling to the simple. They want to grab something--a camera--and take a family picture. They desire a quick means to play their favorite CD. They don't want a swiss army knife version of a mobile device that does it all, nor will we probably find such a device. I mentioned to an employee at a GNC retail store recently about a single card used for credit card purchases, identification, access to buildings, etc., and he agreed with me that there's something very human about carrying multiple cards in your wallet. We have a driver's license used for identification and the right to drive a car; we keep a medical insurance card that assures us we're taken care of if we're in the hospital; credit and debit cards to pay bills. Having ONE card that does everything? It's possible. Do we want it? Are humans "wired" for the single card--or single mobile device--that does EVERYTHING? I seriously doubt it. I think people like variety--they like their elecronic gadgets and plastic cards. And we're a long way off from the future depicted in sci-fi movies where one mobile device does it all.
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