By: Matt Morton
Mobile technologies have gone through quite an interesting timeline. The following demonstrates how the technology has transformed over the past thirty-five years:
1974- First commercially successful pager made available to the public. Previous devices were used for military usage dating as far back as the 1940’s.
1983- The “DynaTac 8000x” was released. This was the first available cell-phone. It offered 30 minutes of talk time and 8 hours of stand-by.
1992- Apple released first Personal Digital Assistant, it offered organizational tools, e-mail access as well as games.
1999- Nokia released their “7110” model. This was considered the first “smart phone.” It offered connection to wireless sites. Major sites that were connected through this device were CNN.Com and ESPN.Com. The following year, Nokia and other major companies released the first camera phones.
2002- The first Blackberry was released.
2007- The first iPhone was released.
2008- The first Android was released. In the following two years, the Android market jumped from 5% to 28%.
2011- App Frenzy! Application usage on smart phones jumped 61%!!!
It is estimated that 26% of all phones in the world are now smartphones, and 50% of all new phones purchased in the U.S. are smartphones.
The Mobile Wallet
With this dramatic increase in cell phone usage, large companies are certainly seeing dividends paid off in terms of investment of time, money and man power in the mobile space. On a consumer level, making payments on a mobile device is certainly not a time consuming endeavor. Often times, folks find that it’s easy, they can do it anywhere, and the point of sales is usually eliminated. In other words, they are already going to buy the product, the mobile platform just gives them a more convenient way of doing it.
Currently, companies such as Starbucks and Dunkin Donut’s have introduced products which allow consumers to scan their smartphone at the register, which automatically deducts moneys from their credit or debit card. Large corporations such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target have recently formed a group called the “Merchant Customer Exchange.” This is basically an application designed to create coupons, rebates and loyalty programs for these three companies. In essence, if you make a purchase on your “mobile wallet” at one of these three stores, you could receive incentives to buy other items at the other stores. Companies such as 7-11, Sears, Lowe’s as well as gas giants Shell and Sunoco have joined forces on this as well.
This new development could change the course of mobile developments. Imagine a world where consumers didn’t have to carry a credit card or even cash. All products and items could be bought via their “mobile” wallet. Even smaller, locally-owned companies could eventually get in on this platform, which would create a business need for mobile developers. Expect mobile usage to gain even more traction in the coming years.