My Mobile Mind Shift (MMS) happened this year! What’s interesting about this revelation is that I’ve been working in the smartphone industry for more than 10 years now. If that’s how long it took me, and I work in the industry, how long is it going to take the rest of the world? Not much longer, I expect.
I used to work for BlackBerry, so I was involved with early smartphones. At the time, a smartphone was a phone that did ‘more’; it had a browser, email, PIM, and you could make apps for it that allowed you to do pretty much anything you wanted. The definition has changed a bit, and nowadays most of the world thinks that Apple created the smartphone, but experience tells me otherwise.
Anyway, for all these years, I’ve loved having a smartphone – Just having a phone, email and a browser was enough for me. I helped a lot of people write apps for smartphones, and used a few apps myself (Facebook, Fandango, Twitter and Flipboard for example) but my phone wasn’t such an important part of my life that it replaced other things. Actually, having worked for BlackBerry, and being connected all the time, drove me to want to disconnect from access at the end of my day. If I was on the road, you could reach me any time, but while at home. I’d leave my phone in my office at the end of the day. Friends or coworkers would call or email me after hours and not hear back from me until the next morning.
So, what happened? Well, mobile just got easier, that’s what happened. I don’t know how to explain it any other way.
I remember the day my eyesight failed. I was attending a wireless networking class in New York City; when I first looked at the course material, I realized that I simply couldn’t read it. Sigh. I went across the street at lunch and purchased a pair of reading glasses and never looked back (well, I couldn’t look back because I could no longer see).
Making the MMS happened the same way. I was purring along, using just a few apps and managing my email and calendar on my device when suddenly I could no longer do without it. Instead of leaving my device on my desk at the end of the day, only taking it with me if I left the house, I found the device still in my pocket after my day ended.
Suddenly the world was my oyster. Dropbox got me my files on all my devices, anytime. Evernote became my primary note taker and, of course, made the data available on all my devices simultaneously. My kids got phones, so texting suddenly became important. Movie tickets through Fandango, dinner reservations through OpenTable, Fitness tracking through Withings, Flipboard for news has absolutely changed my life. Sonos Play devices everywhere and no PC for me in the house or my workshop forces me to use my phone or a tablet to control my music in most places. Checking bank and credit card charges, ordering prescriptions, checking on package delivery – now all done on my phone.
It’s wild when you notice how quickly the MMS accelerates.
It all started with travel. If I walk out of a hotel and a cab is waiting, I’ll grab it. If not, I’ll use Uber. Trips back to the hotel? Uber. I quickly found myself using Uber when my wife and I have a date so I’m not drinking and driving – safer for everyone. The next leap for me was paying for cabs by tapping my phone on the terminal on the back of the cab’s front seat. I experienced that for the first time in San Francisco and now I’m irritated when I’m in a cab and can’t do that. I adopted Coin, so I really only need to carry one credit card, but why do I even need that when I can pay with my phone?
Viv and the Google Assistant are going to start stitching experiences together for you. You have to ask today, but it won’t be long before your phone just takes care of things for you. For example, when you’re on the road and walk out of a restaurant – your phone knows you flew there, so you don’t have your car, and where you’re staying. Instead of waiting for you to order the Uber, the phone knows you just paid the bill and that you don’t have anything else on your calendar and just orders the car for you. There’s still nuances the phone has to figure out about whether you and your colleagues are going out drinking after dinner and what your preferences are for services and interruption, but that will all be figured out soon. What I’m trying to do in my research is figure out what all of this is going to mean to developers. Are we still going to have apps? I think not; it feels like we’re approaching the World Without Apps (WWA) and stuff like Viv and Android Instant Apps are the first steps toward it.