Monday, May 30, 2016

About Phones and Mobility

We celebrate Memorial Day in the States every year at the end of May.  One of the things I like to do on the holiday is catch a baseball game with the local minor league team.  And I tend to watch people in addition to watching the game.

This year I made it to a game.  And while I was there enjoying the game with a hot dog and a soda, I noticed something very interesting.  I saw more people carrying mobile flip phones and other "unsmart" phones than smart phones (Note:  I do not live anywhere near Silicon Valley).  Smart phones seemed to be predominant in the over 40 crowd while "unsmart" phones appeared to be the choice over the under 40 people.  I was a bit stunned.

Now, keep in mind some qualifiers.  First, there were probably about 6,000 people at the game...I probably laid eyeballs on a 10th of those people at the most (I spent more time checking out people as the home team lost badly).  Second, my ability to judge age is not the best.

Still, my observations got me thinking.  Thinking enough that I actually talked to a few people about it.  All of the people carrying the "unsmart" phones made their choice because the cost of the monthly service was so much less.  And so long as their phone can text, check email, and function as a phone (in that order of priority), they were willing to live with the limitations and save the money.  Those people carrying smart phones?  In most cases, their employer subsidized part or all of the hardware and service costs.

Now here is the interesting thing to me.  We stress mobility in the enterprise for two reasons:  to increase the productivity of our workforce and to connect with our customers.  But if the smart phone tide for consumers is beginning to ebb due to increasing costs, doesn't that eventually disrupt the idea of using mobility to connect with our customers?  Is cost beginning to drive a new trend?

So that's how I spent my the ballpark observing and pestering people about their mobile phone choices.  I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts and opinions.  Comments welcome.


  1. That's a fascinating anecdotal observation, Floyd. I can't help wondering if anyone has conducted research on the relationship between smartphone usage and actual monthly service payors.

    1. If anyone has done so, I'm unaware of it.