There was a time (many many years ago!) when being ‘smart’ could earn you that ‘big’ job (read CEO). It could earn you all the money you wanted, all the success you ever needed. Life was supposedly good. And then came the bummer. You got to be ‘social’!
Getting the ‘big’ job (again read CEO), the money, the success, all became significantly dependent on who you knew, how good your network was, you’re social presence (aka visibility) and so on.
Now compare this to the evolution of your beloved cellular phones!
The cellular phones (For some reason, the Germans like to call them ‘handy’! ’) first became ‘smart’ when Symbian entered our lives. Wikipedia will probably tell you something else but I still stand by the fact that the Symbian OS really triggered the beginning of the ‘smartphone’. The Nokia Communicators, the Nokia 6600, 7650 and a whole bunch of smart phones flooded the world. The phones came with cameras that could take still images and videos, had the ability to install applications, allowed personalization with wallpapers, mp3 ringtones and screensavers, and made it possible for the first time to connect to the internet to check your email and enjoy the pretty basic and useless WAP sites! For most people, who were used to phones with around five built-in ring-rings, this was a miracle!
While people got used to these tiny miracles, the phone manufacturers kept making the phones smarter. Blackberry was soon born to destroy whatever personal life remained for the mid and senior level employees of many companies by being designed to push emails in their way at every moment of the day.
It was still all about making the phone smarter and smarter to do more tasks and make our lives simpler. Or at least that’s what each new phone claimed.
All was well, our phones were smart and our lives were supposedly simple. And then again, came the bummer! Our phones got to get ‘social’!
While the Apple iPhone wasn’t launched with the intention of being a ‘social’ phone, the credit for popularizing the concept does go to the iPhone simply because it created the largest collection of phone owners having bundled unlimited data with their subscription. Being connected to the internet all the time, made it the right platform to launch a slew of social tools which were an offshoot of the then increasingly popular and very social Web 2.0. Be it Myspace, Facebook or LinkedIn, it was all about the ‘social’ aspect.
Now, the focus has clearly shifted towards being as ‘social’ as possible! Having that 12MP camera isn’t going to do any good and the manufacturers know it. The Android OS was born to make it simpler for the phone manufacturers to produce phones that were completely social (and at the same time keeping the market share growing for Mr. Google). The Palm WebOS also focuses on the social aspect (or was actually born for it!). Every new phone is busy boasting about how it can merge all your contacts from your phone, (g)(e)mail, facebook, twitter, et al. Or how it can automatically leak your location and update all your social statuses (Read Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare etc). Or how it can add layars (the ‘a’ is intentional) to what you see with all sorts of wanted and unwanted information thrown at you. Soon Google wave will add to the list. It goes on..
Bottom line: The cell-phones have moved from ‘smart’ to ‘social’ and it’s time for you to jump on the bandwagon! Let me see your tweets! Let me see your locations! Let me see your foursquare check-ins! I need that content from all of you else the ‘social’ world will get boring!
As a sidenote, I am quite excited about the forthcoming Motorola Droid. Check it out!