From the August Zeitgeist…
Mobile technology’s burgeoning status demands attention, as the medium has already provided some unique branding and interactive advertising opportunities. In this section we’ll examine the rise of netbooks, current moves in mobile and the evolution of the Internet.
Four years ago, someone hit upon the idea of making very cheap laptops available to the poorer regions of the world. These laptops would be scaled‐down physically and technically and it wasn’t too long before this idea was transplanted to the Western market; the netbook was born.
The Economist recently reported on the rise of this new type of laptop, as the market responds to a new paradigm in consumer desires; more mobile than your average laptop, and tripped down for those users who have no need of a computer with massive processing power. Interestingly, Disney has recently announced it will produce a branded netbook, according to eConsultancy.
When it comes to mobile handsets, smarter and softer are certainly the way forward. Although handset sales are predicted to shrink by 4% this year, sales of smartphones will rise an impressive 27%. The market is about to get very crowded; already an ideological battle on the software front is being waged by Apple’s proprietary iPhone operating system, and Google’s open‐source Android. For Android’s part, the upcoming Hero handset from HTC promises to be “more intuitive than the norm… Files [e.g. email, photos, etc.] relating to a particular person can all be accessed quickly through the phone’s contact list, without switching laboriously from one application to another.” This feature hits upon a key desire at the moment: intuitive aggregation of content for ease of access. Consumers will vote with their wallets as to who the victor will be.
Today we have 3G networks and mobile broadband. Now WiFi and WiMax coverage is increasing and 3G networks are soon to be succeeded by 4G. The latter will provide even faster connection speeds, and some companies are worried that this will make the ‘donglers’ of mobile broadband and the wireless routers in your home obsolete. The FT notes that WiMax coverage is extensive in the developing world where previously no telecoms infrastructure existed, but what about the already saturated Western world? As Reuters notes, ‘Is WiMax the Betamax of mobile space?’
Regardless of which technology reigns supreme, it is clear that people increasingly have the desire and the access to sufficient bandwith to participate in engaging mobile experiences, given the right impetus.