It wasn’t long ago that you needed a notebook computer to function on the go. But the growing maturity of the smartphone market these past few years is eroding that need. To be sure, there are simply some functions, applications or services that require a full computer; but for the basic, everyday needs of consumers, a well-designed smartphone with a wide variety of available software means we can lose the laptop. Email, web browsing, social networking, location-based services and even some basic content creation can be done on modern smartphones today.
Still, mobile productivity on a smartphone is really only in its infancy at this point. Sure, it started up nearly 10 years ago, but it took until now for the hardware, networks and applications to catch up. And as the devices mature, consumers are vying for control to do what they want, when they want to, on their device of choice.
Companies like Microsoft and Palm that helped to create the smartphone market have faltered as it’s matured. Both are trying to stage a comeback — Microsoft with new versions of Windows Mobile and Palm with its innovative webOS. Meanwhile, Apple and Google have upended the entire space with new and elegant mobile operating systems that paved the way for mobile application stores. And this is just the beginning. The opportunity for someone to take the lead towards a true open mobile market is sitting there like low hanging fruit, yet the players are all trying to keep control — from the aging carriers to the hip, new platform-designers that orchestrate the experience of using a handset.