Saturday, 20 March 2010

The rise of the smartphone

I've personally used an electronic diary, contact book, note-taker etc since the days of the Psion organiser (Series 3) in 1991. In fact, I can't actually remember using a paper diary now and an electronic companion has been my way of life ever since I first got hooked.

Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) were all the rage in the 90s but come the new millennium there was a feeling that the day of the PDA was over and only techies would be interested in using an electronic device in this way.

Then the smartphone was born - initially as a Windows device and the market got very excited that one device could be your phone, diary, to-list, address book and even camera. This market grew but then stagnated and many of the manufacturers with early devices dropped out of the market. Again, the feeling was that the products had reached the end of the line and the geek market was saturated.

Then, out of the blue, the iPhone and the Blackberry came along and all of a sudden the smartphone was cool (iPhone) or business-cool (Blackberry). Windows Mobile took a back seat but the number of smart all-in-one devices sky-rocketed.

I've been reminded of all this when glancing around the conference room I've been sitting in all morning. Virtually everyone around me has a smartphone in front of them and it is completely taken for granted - between talks, everyone is emailing, sending texts, checking the web for sports results, updating their diary... we have become reliant on the smartphone for so much of our daily routines.

Google are starting to launch their own-branded phones and Microsoft are soon to release the innovate Windows 7. This technology is clearly here to stay and if the next decade moves us as far as the last one, who knows what we'll have in our pockets come 2020.

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