WeChat, as I will describe in the next blog is strictly not a phone app, at least not one that carreirs pay handset companies for becuase its economics is barebone for the carriers. So long term, WeChat will essentially spell the death of the Smartphone because the subsidy will be gone. In that world, your trip to China will end up being with a tablet or wearable that has WeChat built in. That'd be my guess :-)
Smartphones will dominate the consolidation of all these devices. They will replace laptops as cloud applications and cloud storage advances, tablets as more large screen phones are available (iphone 6), and phones will integrate wearable functions as low power coprocessors proliferate.
Also, my phone will also replace the wallet and set of keys that I carry around everyday.
I think the direction of Smartphones, or PDA's which is a much more accurate description of what they do, will be like the robot in the movie "Terminator" where he is looking for a verbal response and his on-board computer gives him 5 choices through his vision sensors. He selects the one he deems the most appropriate.
So PDA's of the future will anticipate questions before you ask them and give you choices.
For instance, if the PDA detects you are wandering around aimlessly through it's onboard GPS and artificial intelligence, it will ask the question, " Do you need directions?"
Likewise, if you enter a Starbucks, it will know that, and offer you a list of coupons, or special deals based on your past purchases.
Or if you are in Macy's, it will realize that the last time you bought a pair of designer jeans was 3 years ago and you probably need a new pair so here are all the sale items.
They might even be able to anticipate your personal desires and answer email in your behalf, without your involvement!!!
The bottom line is, PDA's will evolve into Digital Mates that will keep track of your life and help you deal with your day-to-day frustrations.
Calling them "Smartphones" is terribly limiting in my opinion.
I take the article's point; as the power of mobile devices reaches the required levels (some could argue effectively that even mid-range smartphones and tablets are there already), end users will pare down the items they take with them.
But will it be the smartphone that disappears or sticks around in a user's pocket or purse? Or will it be the tablet? I feel the answer to this pair of questions won't matter very much, if more wearables emerge to extend the power of a smartphone or tablet the user carries. For instance, if a good Glass-like display wearable hits the market at a reasonable price, could that answer the need for better portable displays? Will that include voice and audio? Seems reasonable to assume so. Could wireless connectivity improvements allow the user to leave their "personal base station" in the car, but still within electronic reach while they shop? Or will the wearable(s) get all that info from the cloud cheaply enough? Who knows at this point?
I expect we'll see a fragmentation of the mobile products market for several years as users figure out what works best for each of them (tablet, smartphone, wearbles) but I agree, folks won't carry more than 2 such devices for very much longer.
I was reading your blog from my phone while lying down on my bed lazyly...and now writing this comment from the same. I was not just feeling comfortable switching the laptop on. The phone is much more handy than the tab I have...unfortunately I don't own an iPad, my experience is with a heavier but cheaper tab. So I prefer the phone over tab when I am lazy. Hence I can't think how smartphone would be replaced soon. :)
> still not something most of us want to carry everywhere. > "Carrying" a wearable doesn't count, since the user is not > burdened with carrying anything. So the question of whether > the other devices I will carry includes just a smartphone, > just a tablet, or maybe even a laptop depends on my immediate > mobility needs and the burden of carrying those devices. It does feel to me that everything is boiling down to an idea of a PDA with extended connectivity. After all now, the majority of customers do value computing-profile tasks and apps handling capability more than simple communication services like phone calls.
When I am in the U.S., I am actually one of those who talk on the phone, rather than just text. But when I am on a business trip abroad, I actually find myself NOT talking (I am mindful of roaming charges), and I was often surprised how superflous the smartphone could be.
However, the last time when I was in China, my heavy usage of WeChat made "wearable" -- in this case, my smartphone -- a must-have. I'd ask my Chinese contact via WeChat to send me their address in Chinese and all I had to do was to show that to my cab driver...
The question of how many devices and exactly which devices comes down to mobility. The tablet is more mobile than the laptop, but still not something most of us want to carry everywhere.
"Carrying" a wearable doesn't count, since the user is not burdened with carrying anything. So the question of whether the other devices I will carry includes just a smartphone, just a tablet, or maybe even a laptop depends on my immediate mobility needs and the burden of carrying those devices.
The laptop has been relegated to the status of a movable desktop -- only moved from point A to point B so that it can be used as a workstation in either location. The tablet is less cumbersome and finds itself traveling more places -- vacation trips, business trips, perhaps shopping at the local store, etc.
But the tablet still cannot be worn on your person or tucked away in your pocket, and there are times when those are the requirements that must be met.
I wouldn't write off the future of the smartphone just yet.