I am done with writing that the cellphone is now a computer.
Of course it is, with all the software and memory and desktop-like interface.
And reading the reports of last week’s Mobile World Congress at Barcelona in Spain made me feel that things have gone beyond any simple, linear prediction framework.
A computer-maker like Acer now sells smartphones, a software company like Google makes smartphones, a microchip company like Intel teams up with Nokia, no less, to come up with a new mobile phone software platform. Microsoft’s new sophisticated Windows 7 mobile platform makes it look like cellphone company.
I took a deep breath, and looked again.
And what I saw now was not the tech giants mentioned above, but something more basic. The game is shifting now towards the likes of Sony Ericsson, Samsung and LG, who have cottoned on to digital devices the way they mastered the old game of transistors and refrigerators.
Having hung out a bit with the rise of open standards in technology, and the way prices are moving down while features are moving up, I decided to combine it all and look for new possibilities.
Here they are:
Your paanwallahs and grocers now sell pre-paid cards. Soon they will sell real handsets, because of a profusion of devices, brands and affordable prices and funny distribution models.
Smart buyers will look at what they want in terms of applications such as software, games and content and match it with the price and looks. Old brands are gone now.
I won’t be surprised if Pan Parag, which makes paan masala, launches cellphones or MP3 players. Getting rid of old handsets will become clunky. Your junkman (kabadiwallah) may offer you a better price than an exchange offer will.
You will buy services or clothes and get cellphones free. You may still not be impressed. Some companies will make simple, slick machines and sell them at a premium because customers will pay more to avoid the confusion surrounding a strange mix of content, services and devices.
Enjoy the confusion. In free market economics, we will say you are spoilt for choice.