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The Real Personal Computer

The year was 1981 and IBM just launched the 5150 Personal Computer. The 5150 started the personal computer revolution, but it took time to spread from the early adopters. It started with small businesses and built momentum when the Apple Macintosh was introduced in 1984. It wasn’t until the mid-1990’s, when the internet was made public, that made the personal computer popular to the average consumer.

The iPhone is the new personal computer
Image courtesy Apple Inc.

While this was all happening, we witnessed the revolution of the cellular phone. The cellular phone started as a large briefcase bag that you had to carry around with you or leave inside your car. They morphed into large cordless ‘bricks’ which look really funny these days.

Which brings us to today. These devices, that we cannot get away from, are tethered to our bodies and have become indispensable to our daily lives. Our cell phones are not telephones, they are our new personal computer. Smart phones are powerful computers that allow us to make phone calls through the internet using a technology called voice-over-internet-protocol (VOIP). They not only allow us to communicate via voice, but also allow access to text messaging (SMS), email, video calling, social media apps, photos and browsing the internet. People claim that if they leave their home without their wallet they will continue driving, while they will return home to grab their cell phone. As social media, games and apps build even more momentum, people will be even more attached to their phones.

Near Field Communication (NFC) technology is now being built into new smart phones. NFC will allow us to start our cars, make purchases and allow for customized content. Near field communication is a sensor/chip inside a phone that uses a customized short-range frequency that is dedicated exclusively to your device. We have been using this technology for many years with devices such as keyless office entry or ‘speed-pass’ payment methods. This technology is now being built into smart phones for your convenience. Think about this: wallet, keys, phone; two of them are going away – pick one.

One note to keep your eye on, cell phone service providers are now charging data usage by your usage in kilobytes. For those of you that are not aware, or have unlimited data plans, each time you visit a website on your smart phone, you are downloading the html code/data of that site through your phone’s internet browser. This data that you download is being tracked by your service provider and you will be charged based on the amount of data that you are downloading. I don’t like this trend and we need to support service providers that allow unlimited data plans. If all the service providers switch away from unlimited data plans, we, the consumer, will pay significantly with higher cell phone bills. Doesn’t that sound like the beginning of internet browsing with the old ‘dial-up’ connections?

Furthermore, if you own a business or you’re a marketer, you need to get your business online. With the emergence of the Real Personal Computer (our cell phone), there are tremendous opportunities to those that can be found through search engines. The day will come when your potential client uses their phone to search for what they want to buy. Your business needs to have a web presence and a mobile friendly website to take advantage of new business and lead generation opportunities. Think about the potential of mobile marketing with everyone glued to their phones…

An analogy would be to compare the computer revolution with the telephone industry. We’ve gone from using large desktop workstations to small handheld devices.

They are now one.

How often do you conduct Google search on your cell phone? Please leave your comments below…