Moving towards Mobile: The Increasing Tendency Towards Pocket Computers
“Keep Me Mobile:” A Cultural Trend
On April 26th, 2019, Samsung released its newest and much-hyped contribution to the tech world: the “Galaxy Fold.” The phone-tablet hybrid is the first of a new mobile form, a foldable, which opens into the size and function of a pocket computer tablet. It is advertised as that which “defies categories;” but if well it confuses technological definitions, it undoubtedly serves to clarify cultural ones. Its innovation is evidence of the trending demand towards mobility, convenience, and accessibility– qualities which are now proving vital across platforms and industries worldwide. From healthcare professionals to business conglomerates to teenagers, market demand has joined with unprecedented innovation, so shrinking computers from desks to pockets.
Mobility Across Sectors and Demographics
It once seemed a miracle to think that computing technology would be small enough to be carried at all– let alone held in a single hand. However, since the smart phone’s invention and with each down-sizing improvement since, people have become accustomed to reaching information, communication, and convenience, literally, at their fingertips. The tech industry has reciprocated the interest by innovating new ways to leverage pocket computers across all areas of life and culture. Professional-level phone cameras are now available at any Kodak moment; yuppies manage their calendars while sipping coffee on the subway; fitness gurus track their calories while stepping at the gym; people aren’t kidding when they quip, “There’s an app for that.”
Especially for those involved in the tech sector, recognizing and acting upon this trend will be a deciding, sink or swim, factor. According to App Annie’s first quarter report, this year has already yielded over $22 billion in sales of App downloads– that’s a 20% leap from 2018, which was recorded as the most mobile-centric year to date (Sydow). Downloads from the Google Play Store have contributed remarkably to these numbers (with a consistent, 10% yearly growth) (Yogesh). However, unlike the typical mental image of “gamers,” holed away in their parents’ dark and dingy basements, these are mobile players– spending their bus rides, walks, or even work-time breaks gaming on high-performance phones especially designed for such use (Leong). In the travel sector, likewise, mobile apps are in the absolute highest of demand– both for the traveler’s individual experience (international payment apps that avoid local currency and exchange rates) (Hoon), and for large hotel and tour organizations (a new, all-inclusive app that tracks hotel bookings and the sources from which they are made) (Schaal). In health care, also, mobile apps are now considered necessary (Patel); and even in agriculture, cell phone technology is being introduced in daily practice (Condon). The tech sector, in this sense, is quickly becoming the provider for all other sectors’ daily operations– with the shift to pocket computers only enhancing this pattern’s dominance.
Sealing the Deal with 5G
Pocket computing will only exponentially spike as 5G capabilities hit the market. The race is on for companies to provide the first 5G product, as it is for providers to build the infrastructure necessary to support it. Although experts debate whether or not this release will come in 2019 or 2020, no one questions that it will blow up the scene, solidifying the already-favored reliance on mobile technology (Sullivan).