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The world surely loves its mobile phones. Every latest OS release & handset launch by different manufacturers is rabidly covered in reams of newsprint & takes over the cyberworld, where it becomes difficult to distinguish where news coverage stops and fanboy drooling begins. Beyond the glitzy launches and hyperbole surrounding new technology & newer features that promise to transform your life, lies the simple truth that no one wants to acknowledge: It’s about the money, honey. Fact is, it’s always been about money.
Let’s look at the Gang of Four that rules the Internet: Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon. You’ve seen the curated ecosystem that has catapulted Apple to the top of the heap, and deservedly so. In a way, Apple is responsible for the current boom in smartphones. On the other hand, you have Google’s Android, which now is touching 1 million activations per day, and yet Google continues to make very little money out of it. Meanwhile Amazon has had a runaway blockbuster in Kindle, which began life as an e-reader, then became an experience, as it became available on the desktops & mobiles as an app, and then became a bonafide tablet. And did you know, it’s a self-publishing platform too? And lastly, there’s Facebook. Not even looking at its controversial IPO, the mobile gods do not seem to have smiled upon Facebook that much as it struggles to find a secret sauce for success on mobile.
Have you noticed I haven’t even mentioned Windows phone yet? I’m still sitting on the fence on that one.
The point I’m making here is that there is a world of difference between what companies will have you believe is the manna from heaven, and what really sells in the market.
Take for example, NFC. NFC is loved by geeks, and will surely revolutionize mobile payments….in the year 2025. Right now, we have barely 4 phones in the market that have NFC chips in them, and probably even lesser NFC enabled terminals out there. Don’t forget, we do have a very good payments system: Plastic cards. This system took nearly 20 years to become mainstream. NFC isn’t going to sweep all this away in just 2 years. NFC is there for the long haul, and will eventually become the defacto standard, but it will take time.
Look at the number of apps out there. We’re approaching 1 million apps in the respective app stores. Making sense of this overload madness requires another app perhaps.