What is phone doing in smartphone

What job do we hire a phone for?

If it is talking and if we are using a smartphone for less and less of talking, should these even be labeled as phones?

If you take out the ‘phone’ part from the name, does it smash down the rules and expectations on the form-factor for a phone?

If it is a “revolutionary internet device” for consuming content and occupying time, why settle for smaller screen? As Kevin Tofel writes,

Why watch the content on a small, low-resolution screen when you can watch it on a high-definition screen that’s still easily portable?

Simply put, we can’t think about today’s constraint of needing to put a mobile device in a pocket. We only put phones in our pockets when we’re not using them. Guess what? We’re using them more and more, which means they’re in our pockets less and less.

That is right, we put phones in our pocket. What if it is not called a phone and there are no more phones?

Another factor that could hasten the transition is the service providers’ reliance on voice revenue. While it is great pricing scheme by service providers, some customers may start giving up their phone altogether for tablets or adopt a tablet plus dumb-phone for occasional phone function.

Add to that Apple’s rumored iPad mini. A mini tablet from Apple will likely hasten the move away from phone. Is the possible demise of iPhone (as we know it) the reason why Apple may introduce iPad mini?

Disclaimer: Any prediction about the future that is about specific solution is bound to be wrong. So this prediction is likely going to be wrong as well.

The Smart Phone is on its way out

Take this 4 question survey before you read on: Survey Link. This will help me test the hypothesis  I am offering here.

This week we commemorated the fifth anniversary of iPhone. It has come a long way since then and so have we and our use of iPhone. Let us go a little further back in time to the day Steve Jobs made the iPhone announcement. Mr. Jobs made a dramatic announcement about three new devices they were introducing that day,

A revolutionary mobile phone

Widescreen iPod

Break Internet communications device

He kept repeating these three until he got the expected reaction from the audience. Surprise! All three devices were in one neat device called iPhone. Those were the days when smart phone meant getting email and combining music player with phone was positioned as convenience.

Those were also the days when

A phone’s mandatory purpose was talking,

Visual voice mail was a killer app,

Music meant listening to ripped songs,

Entertainment meant reading news and other sites and

Staying connected meant email.

Today all these mean completely different things –

Talking is Skype,

Music has many options,

Entertainment is 500K apps and

Staying connected is Social.

If the phone has become an App platform, does it make sense to have it in the phone form factor and keep paying $100 a month to mobile subscribers to support their phone driven business model?

With changes afoot at Verizon an ATT, the total cost of smart phone for two years is  $199 + $2400. As customers use the phone less and less for talk and text there are far fewer takers for the lucrative all you can Talk+TXT plans. So the mobile subscribers did the one think they know, get rid of cheaper alternatives in the name of simplicity, making $100 all you can  Talk+TXT with 2GB data as the only choice.

Customers see plans designed to prop up outdated business models rather than those designed to fit their changing needs?

If the iPhone was three “revolutionary” devices rolled into one, is it time to unroll it into two different devices?

The same Apps run on Tablets that offer better form factor to consume Apps and content, and cost far less than  device price and service charges for smart phones. For instance, one could get 3G data for their $199 tablets for $30 a month and get prepaid Talk+TXT only phone for less than $30 a month. Net savings for carrying a phone and tablet separately?  $960 over two years.

Do we see a future where the smart phones as we know it ceases to exist and is replaced by a dumb phone for exigencies and a tablet?