Some four years ago, I spoke at a conference in New York about the future of music. Part of my presentation dealt with the arrival of the smartphone and what it could mean in terms of consumer behavior and music consumption.
My theory was that once smartphones reached critical mass--a tipping point in terms of market penetration--we were going to see some interesting changes in the way people access information and entertainment.
In hindsight, of course, this is a "Well, duh" sort of prediction. But back in the fall of 2008, the vast majority of people were using run-of-the-million feature phones.
And now this revolution is moving at light speed with an estimated 1.1 BILLION 3G subscribers on the planet, a number that's increasing by 37% per year.
Now, though, new unexpected realities are begining to resolve. Check out this article from The Guardian:
If, however, you're concerned about things such as freedom, control and innovation, then the prospect of a world in which most people access the internet via smartphones and other cloud devices is a troubling one. Why? Because smartphones (and tablets) are tightly controlled, "tethered" appliances. You may think that you own your shiny new iPhone or iPad, for example. But in fact an invisible chain stretches from it all the way back to Apple's corporate HQ in California. Nothing, but nothing, goes on your iDevice that hasn't been approved by Apple.
And even if you're not an Apple fanboy and sport an Android-powered mobile device, there is still the problem that your access to the internet is regulated by a company – your mobile network provider – which is free not just to charge prohibitively for access but also to decide what you can access and what you can't.