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What I didn’t realise about cell phones and capabilities

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I was invited to chair one of the three days of the MAPOS event, (Mobility Applications, Platforms and Operating Systems) in London. As is often the case these days with change seeming to be happening all around us ever faster, I realised some of the things I just hadn’t been keeping up with. As you will know from previous blogs I have been a believer that as the cell phone gets smarter, or at least more capable, it becomes increasingly a candidate for being the one ubiquitous device that we will all have and use most. Why? Because the user interfaces of phones are more natural in placing people at the centre of the activities they want to use for everyday matters as opposed to data entry centric interfaces on traditional PC keyboards. Actually, I could argue that as the PC becomes smaller, and lighter, it’s moving towards being the same device as a cell phone anyway, so no matter who makes it, and from which direction they got there, the real point is not the device, but the users and the content. It was Bob Metcalf, the inventor of Ethernet who first pointed out how the value of a network is determined by the number of users, so in the case of the mobility phone here are some statistics given out at MAPOS.

  • 95% of cell phone owners never leave home with out carrying their phone;
  • 3 billion people are always ‘connected’, twice the number of connected PCs;
  • 54% of 14-24 year olds use their cell phone of the internet;
  • 24% of Japanese cell phone traffic is voice traffic;
  • Between 1 and 6% of users ‘click through’ on cell phone adverts a higher percentage than on PCs.
Conclusions? People do more surfing on PCs to ‘kill time’ where as they do more targeted activities from a cell phone usually associated with the activity, or location, they are currently engaged in, or at. So if we have the people building the volume, what about the tools to make it interesting? And that’s where it all got very interesting for this was a focussed event and therefore it produced some really detailed demonstrations. Now you will already know that I like micro blogging, and Jaiku, but now I started to see many more new things, but I will content myself with taking you to just one. www.widsets.com This is a library site which as of today is offering a stunning 3,444 widgets for your cell phone! Some are from well known places such as Google, or Flicker, but others are new, to me at least, and more importantly are not modified versions of the original PC version. And if this seems all too much and daunting then the 3,444 are all placed into different categories to help you find what you are looking for, or even as I quickly discovered to help me find what I didn’t know I could do! A good place to start is the ‘Editors Favourites’, but if overall this doesn’t open your eyes to why the statistics show so many people are now using their cell phones for the Internet I don’t know what does! But it’s not necessarily the same internet content as they use from their desktop. To end; a funny but allegedly true story about transportation ‘widgets’, and in particular Widgets for checking train timetables and journey times something very popular in much of northern Europe, but are not popular in the UK. The answer to this is supposed to be because British users don’t think it worth looking at the train time tables because the UK trains never arrive at the times given! That just has to be the ultimate location story about the value of information changing according to where you are!

About the author

Andy Mulholland
Andy Mulholland
Capgemini Global Chief Technology Officer until his retirement in 2012, Andy was a member of the Capgemini Group management board and advised on all aspects of technology-driven market changes, together with being a member of the Policy Board for the British Computer Society. Andy is the author of many white papers, and the co-author three books that have charted the current changes in technology and its use by business starting in 2006 with ‘Mashup Corporations’ detailing how enterprises could make use of Web 2.0 to develop new go to market propositions. This was followed in May 2008 by Mesh Collaboration focussing on the impact of Web 2.0 on the enterprise front office and its working techniques, then in 2010 “Enterprise Cloud Computing: A Strategy Guide for Business and Technology leaders” co-authored with well-known academic Peter Fingar and one of the leading authorities on business process, John Pyke. The book describes the wider business implications of Cloud Computing with the promise of on-demand business innovation. It looks at how businesses trade differently on the web using mash-ups but also the challenges in managing more frequent change through social tools, and what happens when cloud comes into play in fully fledged operations. Andy was voted one of the top 25 most influential CTOs in the world in 2009 by InfoWorld and is grateful to readers of Computing Weekly who voted the Capgemini CTOblog the best Blog for Business Managers and CIOs each year for the last three years.

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