Monday, February 27, 2006

Even more on the Ubergadget

Well this is an interesting story from the San Fransisco Gate (by Ryan Kim) who notes: "I don't think there is a precedent for something that has spread so quickly around the world to so many individuals; we're talking about 2 billion phones around the world," said Howard Rheingold, digital journalism professor at Stanford and author of "Smart Mobs." "It's an intimate technology that has the capability to reach into your intimate zone and it brings up a lot of emotions with it." If nothing else, this is why phones and the whole m-learning thing is going to be important... According to the BBDO survey, 15 percent of Americans have interrupted sex to answer a cell phone call. It also found that 59 percent of us wouldn't think of lending our cell phone to a friend for a day. Another 26 percent said that a cell phone was more important to go home to retrieve than a wallet. ... Heidi Hansen, 32, of San Anselmo said she can't go a day without her cell phone. Hansen, a marketer for a medical laboratory, said she has bought chargers on vacations just to stay connected to her friends and clients. "If it breaks, I have to go that day and make sure it gets dealt with," she said. "I have given out my number to clients. I can't do that and not be available." The phone's initial allure was its ability to create instant conversations. But with technological advances and some of our own creativity, it has evolved to do much more. According to December 2005 data by M:Metrics, which tracks mobile data use, the most popular non-voice feature is text messaging, with 61 million users having tried it at least once. An additional 46 million have tried mobile gaming, followed by 33 million who take photos. At the bottom of the list, 3 million people have used their phone to access a dating service, 1.5 million have accessed their horoscopes and 1.2 million have looked at comics or humor sites on their phone. People are also learning to use cell phones in a variety of ways not entirely foreseen by cell phone carriers and manufacturers. According to the BBDO Worldwide study, 44 percent of Americans have found ways to flirt using their cell phone, such as through text messages. A Cingular Wireless study released earlier this month found that 27 percent of people have communicated with dates via text message and 17 percent of users said their wireless phone saved them from an uncomfortable date. In the Sprint survey, almost 2 of every 3 people used their cell phone backlight to look for something in the dark, mostly keyholes and walkways, while 7 percent said they used their backlights to cheer on their favorite band at a concert, replacing the trusty lighter of the past. And finally, 4 percent have used it to light up their face to tell a ghost story. "These technologies are interesting in the same way that a shoe can also be a hammer," said Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguistics professor at the UC Berkeley School of Information. "There are incidental uses for cell phones that often can be something that changes it altogether." The ubergadget is certainly growing into more than the sum of it's parts and while I don't think we need a Cell Phone 101 class, we do need to start thinking about ways to make content available on them (though we are still going to have to convince people to use them - after all textbooks are flashy but no amount of flash stops them from becoming oversized coasters and paddles/weights for school kids). I've said it before, and this kinda helps... I think the cell phone will be the way that people document their world and communicate their ideas at the personal level and from there, they will connect to the computing layer that already exists to go beyond. Case in point - I went to Stomp on Friday and this is what the new inside of the NA Jubilee looks like (above). Technorati Tags: ,