Mobile Devices—Our Lifestyle Connections
By Cassandra Bremer, Junior Executive at The San Jose Group
Mother: “The iPhone is a terrible phone.”
Daughter: “What are you talking about? The iPhone is awesome; the thing can do basically anything you want it to do: call, text, email, run apps, stream video, upload photos, Facebook, etc.”
Mother: “I’m not talking about all that other stuff. I’m talking as a phone—making a call, receiving a call, checking voicemail, automatically redialing a busy signal—and that’s it.”
One problem with technological evolution is the shift occurring in the definition of the word “mobile.” Mobile does not simply mean cellular phone anymore; on any given usage your mobile might be your MP3, camera, calculator, gaming system, social media assistant, bank statement… and sometimes even a phone; the possibilities are seemingly endless.
This mobile term change does not just speak to the generational differences between, say, mothers and daughters, but also to ethnical differences between average Americans and Hispanic Americans. As the youngest ethnic group in the United States, it’s no surprise that Hispanics are one of the fastest growing demographics utilizing their mobiles for a verity of functions including browsing the web, updating social media statuses, streaming videos, shopping and online gaming in addition to that phone function.
Even current market trends support that we’re becoming a more wireless society; in that sense, soon, everything we conceivably want or need will be “mobile,” and we’ll have to keep widening its definition, making way for these new devices and functions. In fact, the Hispanic market seems to be leading the shift to a more “mobile” society, with thirty-five percent of Hispanic Americans becoming wireless (ten percent above the national average) according to the government’s CDC wireless report.
Ages and ethnicities aside, if we’re not bringing our photo, music and video libraries, gaming systems and social networks with us everywhere we go, we can assume we’re using inferior technology and are missing out on being connected—not just to our social networks, but to every aspect of our lives.
While the operating systems and applications change depending on the types of mobile devices we use, most of us can recall Apple’s iPhone campaign: “There’s an app for that.” We now assume that the powers of the smartphone are unlimited—for any service we might need, we simply download an app. However, few things are more frustrating than when we find out there’s not an app for some need, or instead of being connected to our intended webpage, we receive an error message, such as Adobe Systems Incorporated 2012 error response: “the format required is not supported by your device. This content can be viewed on a desktop computer or on mobile devices that support this format.”
Culturally, we feel, “There’s an app for that” or “Hay una aplicación para todo” is a promise, not just from Apple but from all application providers. We live in a time where patience (especially when it comes to mobiles) does not exist. If Patrick Henry were alive, he might preach, “give me instant gratification on my mobile or give me death.” We need instant gratification because our mobiles have become appendages necessary to use in every aspect of our lives: work, leisure, school, etc.
Perhaps the most confusing aspect about mobile’s changing definition is mobile does not mean the same thing to any two people or even the same thing to one person at any given time: for a ten year old, his smartphone might be his personal entertainment system while his parents see it as a tracking device, for a business woman, it might be her secretary/planner by day and photo album by night, and for an athlete, it might be her personal trainer and nutritionist.
From the skins on the outside to the data on the inside, our mobiles are ours in every way. The apps we download are reflections of our lifestyles, wants and needs. We personalize our phones to be exactly what we need at any given moment. In this sense, what consumers are looking for now are mobile devices that are chameleons; they must fit into every and any aspect of our lives how and when we need them to be available.
So, we still need our mobiles to act as phones which have not only equal, but superior pre-smartphone phone capabilities: make calls, access voicemail, redial, and make 3 way calls. But, we also need mobiles that are so much more than phones, equipped with apps that are not only relevant but necessary to our lifestyles, cultures, interests and ages. Our mobiles must function as our connections to our worlds, not just to one person on another extension. It’s not too much to ask for both, right?