On Computers: The smartphone revolution is here
Welcome to the revolution; hope you enjoy the show.
For the first time, Verizon and AT&T report more customers are using smartphones than the suddenly obsolete cellphones. Both companies are hitting record profits selling the new phones and time on the Internet.
This is causing a tsunami of concern in what we used to call “the computer business.” PC sales are falling as more and more of us switch to our smartphones for Web access.
Businesses offering both computer and phone websites watch as phones take charge of the stats. If you don’t offer phone access, you’re dead meat.
This is giving the news industry a breath of life, as media finds a new way to charge for content, via applications. But they’d better watch their back. Customer expectations of smartphones are far different than those of computer users. You’d demand more of your media if you were paying for it.
One of the issues that’s critical is news timeliness. Phones are right now, everywhere. Many news websites are still on news cycles, meaning they write all day and publish at night. With smartphones, they’d better write and publish at the same time. Their competitors are.
Internet shoppers expect to see a decent variety of choices at lower prices than stores. But you order, and you wait and wait.
Smartphone shoppers will be hooked on same-day delivery. Amazon soon will roll this out. They’re building huge distribution centers in major markets, with robots doing the product picking. Order a.m., deliver p.m. will be commonplace after that.
Shoppers resisted dragging along their PCs for in-store comparisons. Not so with phones.
I was in Best Buy last week, and at least 50 percent of the shoppers were on phones. They find something they like at Best Buy, then search Amazon and others for Internet prices and reviews. Same-day delivery could mean they order, shop a little more, go out to eat and their new product is at their doorstep.
Amazon is developing this scheme to give us something in return for paying state sales taxes on purchases. Our closest warehouse will be in Indiana, so for us, it may be next-day delivery. In large cities, same-day has already started.
The next big things in smartphones is to make them as smart as stand alone products such as MP3 players and digital cameras. At least one phone maker is installing renown Beats music gear in its new phones. Others are increasing megapixels on their cameras and including software to manage, edit and transmit social interaction, almost automatically.
The products they’re replacing won’t simply go away, but the competition is definitely upped. I saw a smartphone photo last week and was fairly blown away. Yes, this can replace a lot of cameras, just as the phones are replacing a lot of computers.
Contact Jim Hillibish at email@example.com.