Cell phones are everywhere now. We look at them on our lunch breaks. We do business and talk with our friends on them. We’re so completely dependent on these devices that we purchase custom smartphone cases and screen protectors to make them last as long as possible. Over the past 20 years, cell phone use has dramatically increased, and it's expected to surpass five billion users worldwide by 2020. And it’s little wonder why.
Smartphones are powerful. They fulfill the old idea of a portable computer, and they top the supercomputers of previous decades by hundreds of MHz of processing speed. In addition, there's photo and video capability. Stock photos and full-length films can be shot with some of the latest smartphone cameras. Smartphones can be used to compose, send messages, play movies and videos, paint and draw or check the stock market. A whole range of things that were either limited to full computer systems or full-featured studios can now be done wherever we go.
Global Poverty Rates Are Dropping
Global extreme poverty, living on less than $1.90 a day, has been steadily dropping at a rate of about one person per second since the 1990s. In Asia, it has declined dramatically and is on track to end by 2030. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the rate has lessened but remains around 50%. However, phone manufacturing companies are working to meet what they see as a consequently large market demand there. As it is, there are more subscriptions worldwide than there are people. The benefits of connectivity for education and hospitals as well as the professional and income opportunities presented have had a measurable effect on gross domestic product.
To avoid remote communities’ missing out on all the benefits, companies are coming up with innovative methods to improve range and reach, and some communities are taking action to further this effort. A small town in Mexico set up a proprietary base and erected small towers to cover the area. Some companies are increasing connectivity through the use of large balloons or constellations of low-orbit satellites with worldwide coverage. Cell towers themselves can have a significant range, which does away with the necessity to lead cables to every home or building and makes local infrastructure a much more affordable prospect.
Partners in Industry
It’s been said that smartphones are already serving as an extension to mental functions like memory or mathematical ability. Where we might otherwise need to memorize volumes of information and have adequate recall to derive an answer, a simple smartphone search will accomplish the same thing. Meanwhile, fitness apps can measure our physical performance levels against an aggregate baseline, making us more conscious of our physical fitness and more likely to take action toward improving it.
It’s not a big surprise you’d want to hang out with something that serves as an educational and entertainment center, a communications hub, and a creative suite all at your fingertips. Marketing platforms don’t miss this fact. All sorts of social media companies with cell phone apps are battling for your attention and advertising things to you. Smartphones have become a point of sale.
With so many incentives to stay engaged, addiction starts to come into the question. People become deeply involved with news and entertainment or with social activity and networking. They even feel anxious if they’re out of touch. Close to 90% of consumers prefer engaging with businesses via SMS or other messaging as opposed to phone, email or in-person contact. In the United States, 77% of Americans now own a smartphone, and the scope of this technology is only increasing.
Smartphones are becoming nearly universal. They’re creative platforms, educational tools, communication hubs, medical aids and a means of contributing to the development of the world in general. With their technology and reach constantly improving to meet demands, smartphones show every sign of soon playing an even more significant role in daily life.