New research from TSI has revealed the smartphone is the significant technology breakthrough of the last 25 years.
TSI asked people to share their views on what tech has made the biggest impact since the 1990s, with the smartphone collecting a strong 60% of the vote. Other contenders included the floppy disc and fax machine.
“Despite 35mm cameras and phones with aerials now being referred to as vintage, I can still remember my very first brick-like phone, not to mention the pager, and how innovative it was when first released,” said Steve Kyprianou, MD at TSI
“We’re now on release eight of the iPhone, and the rise of the ‘connected culture’ means we value wider connectivity, super-fast WiFi and instant access to information at our fingertips over work tools such as Microsoft Office and Windows XP.”
While we do not argue about the merits and impact of the smartphone, you have to put the term ‘technology breakthrough’ into perspective. The smartphone is a device of convenience, adding mobility to an euphoria which already existed, the internet.
When you look at the technological breakthroughs of the 20th century, some might argue the smartphone is not as significant. The combustion engine, for example, or ubiqtuous electricity, had profound and life-changing impacts on society. Has the smartphone made the same impact?
Think about it this way, we already had the internet before. The concept of the internet was earth-shattering, it reinvented the way we did business and the way in which we developed our social lives. The smartphone made the internet mobile. We are by no-means undermining the impact it has had on our lives, more offering a bit of perspective. The move to mobile is one of convenience, it a step in the progression of the internet, not anything which was new.
Perhaps we are just on the cusp of what the smart phone can offer. With mobile money trends just starting to grip the mass market and the PC continuing to play less relevance in our lives, the smartphone is becoming more and more critical. Fewer people can look down on those who are glued to the blue screen, as it is becoming a necessity. Perhaps the next significant step in the smartphone space will be when they figure out how to get passports onto the devices?
So maybe this is a question which should be asked to the community; is the smartphone the biggest breakthrough of the last 25 years, and how does it compare to the technological breakthroughs of the early 20th century?