I recently came across this 1989 cell phone commercial on YouTube:
It’s very interesting to see how much has changed since 1989 – a mere 19 years as of this writing. In those 19 years, those massive bricks have become so slim and compact that tucking one away in ones pocket is less intrusive than tucking a wallet into ones pocket. In addition, those number keys have become smaller and high quality colour screens have filled the void.
That’s just the physical differences. However, while the physical attributes of today’s cell phones have improved so much, the growth in functionality is mind-boggling. From a mere voice communication device with questionable reception to high quality mini computers, today’s phones are not just for the rich adults profiled in this ad but for kids as well. Cell phones are not longer just tools used for mobile voice communication. Now they are devices with operating systems containing text messengers and are, email-enabled, Internet-connected, microporcessing computing machines with built in cameras, and in some cases Wi-Fi, 3G and memory slots.
It’s interesting to see how different our tools have become. I guess when over 50% of the global population has a cell phone (with some countries in Europe having a cell phone penetration rate of over 100%), there is big economic incentives to spend more or research and development and to turn a cell phone into a truly mobile, handheld computer.
In this new reality where kids have cell phones and will be using them in their adult lives, we need to accept digital communication devices as being as necessary in tomorrow’s world as the paper and pen were in yesterday’s world. It will be interesting to see what the next 19 years will bring…