Excuse me while I rant with a zealot passion.
"It's starting to happen, it's getting exciting again," observed Esther Dyson, who plays host to PC Forum, an annual gathering of technology executives, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists that was held late last month in Scottsdale, Ariz. PC Forum began in 1977. But now the PC stands not for "personal computer" but "Platforms for Communication."
Forget lumping all wireless stuff into one basket, because it's not the same. There's WiFi which lets you do some cool things like access the internet from your local Starbucks (whoop-dee-doo), then there's next generation mobile phones which will change the way we live.
Let's say that again for the reading impaired: Next generation mobile phones are going to change the way we live our lives.
Can you feel that buzz? Can you hear it? I can. It's loud and clear and ringing in my ears every waking moment of every day. I hear it every time I take my Nokia 7650 out of my pocket. Every time I show it to someone who's maybe technology agnostic, and then I Watch Their Eyes when I take a picture or show them a video. Hear Them Gasp when I ask if I want to email it to them right from my phone. See Them Smile when they see mobile games... See Them Fondle the phone in wonder and amazement. Listen To Them Ask "where did you get it? How long ago? How much?"
THAT is the buzz. It's what we've been waiting for.
"These hand-held smart phones are the frontier, but we're just getting to the point where they are beginning to be widely distributed," said Berge Ayvazian, president of the Yankee Group, a research firm.
Like the mid 1990s when suddenly you could easily use the internet for the first time to look up timely information - say medical information or shopping comparsions for cars - at first it seemed incredible, now 90+ percent of new car buyers start on the web. It's now become a part of how we all live. We've been waiting for the past few years for another technical revolution of similar proportions. An enabling technology that will seem interesting, fun and new at first, but then soon become vital to our every day lives. Well it's arrived...
It's about anywhere/anytime communication and access to the information that you need. Life itself is about communication: we talk to, we listen to, we read about, we watch other people every day all day. It's why we get up in the morning. Suddenly we're going to be able to communicate in new and varied ways: via voice, email, chat, images and video instantly and receive the same all in return. And we're going to LOVE it. But as a bonus, suddenly you can access information where and when you need it as well: "What time's that movie? Where are we? How do we get there? Do our friends want to come? I better buy tickets now..." The combination of the two is a powerful package and soon you won't be able to remember what it was like to have to boot your computer just to browse the web or send an email or chat or play games.
It used to be that information was In Here and life was Out There. But now that's changing. And that change is the buzz.
It's a buzz and its soon going to become a roar. Everyone's waiting. The Valley is quiet. The technology that is being developed in the rest of the world is waiting for the enablers of Silicon Valley to produce Magic. I believe it. Remember: Microchips existed before Intel. The mouse existed before Apple. PDAs existed before Palm. And the Internet existed before Netscape. And now? How do we finish this phrase? "Mobile phones existed before..."
Excuse me while I get back to work.