I have been remiss in my blogging this year year. Those of us with limited creativity tend to run out of ideas fast and have to recharge our batteries once in a while. Ok, I’ll admit it. I was slacking off. There. I said it out loud. Are you happy?
Meanwhile… Mobility has trudged on with or without me. I finally made the big switch from a Windows Mobile 6.x device to an Android device and have been very happy. But of course, after owning my Motorola Droid RAZR for a few months they now offer one with a battery that will last a full day. I should have waited longer. Or should I?
Each day, week or month that goes by affords more innovation and more new gizmos that can help us in our daily lives. We seem to be losing track of the things we couldn’t do from our phones only yesterday and now they are the minimum stakes to get into the game. I had an interesting conversation with my daughter the other day about cars that mirrors what we see in the mobile market.
The first car I ever owned was a very used 1978 Chevy Nova. I loved that car. It had serious issues but it was my first car so I
overlooked all of them (a non-functioning heater/air-conditioner was the biggest issue). That car had nothing special. I had to install my own AM/FM Cassette player (the stock AM radio was not cutting it). It had manual crank down windows, manual locks, no trunk release (without getting out and using the key), manual mirrors (requiring you to slide across the bench seat to adjust the passenger side mirror) and almost nothing you would recognize in a typical car of today. In my first car, cruise control involved wedging your foot just right between the gas pedal and the transmission hump. In short, it was awesome.
This all seems foreign to my daughter’s generation where automatic everything is included or available for even the lowest-end cars. Most people wouldn’t buy a car without air-conditioning let alone a decent stereo and automatic locks and power windows. And even heated seats are now standard on many vehicles, a luxury that would have been very handy back in the days when my heater didn’t work.
The point of this trip down memory lane is simple: we use our mobile phones for things that never dawned on us only a few months or years ago. And more importantly, much like with our car’s features, we cannot remember how we lived without these capabilities in the past. As the available horsepower in these little devices ramps up we see more capability that we just can’t live without. But there is a dark and sinister side to this progress.
I’ve whined in previous blogs that I was promised a flying car by the year 2000. That milestone year occurred more than a decade ago and I still don’t fly to work each day (at least not in a car). The line between work and non-work life has now been blurred by the encroachment of mobility into our DNA. It was easy in the old days (ok, maybe even 3 or 4 years ago) to have a BlackBerry device that was issued by your work but still maintain your own cell phone for personal use. You could easily (don’t tell my boss this) turn the BlackBerry off at night or on weekends to get some time off. That process is completely gone for most people now. You have a single device. It’s your work/life/home/friends/coworkers/family phone. One number, one device and only one way to get in touch with you either via voice or any number of electronic options.
So now my phone, like everybody else’s, is on 24×7. I was used to being on call in a former life. I had a work phone and pager and got called out to find criminals at all hours of the day and night. That was “normal” for me. But when I went on vacation, I transferred the duty to my pal and never looked back. I’m not sure how that works now in the world of constant communications. I guess you never really go “off the clock” these days.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. This is just an observation. After all, I make a living in the mobility market and see the value it can bring, so it’s all good as far as I’m concerned. However, it does make me wonder if when my daughter is my age she will be looking back and longing for the old days. The days where you could get away and not communicate and nobody thought you were odd if you did. Who knows? By that time she’ll probably have a surgical implant for her phone and I’ll bet she’ll have that flying car too.