The Smart Phone Revolution is dead. Long live the Smart Phone Revolution.
There’s a rising backlash against the smartphone dominant culture we find ourselves living in these days and that backlash is finally catching steam. I read an article today called “We’ve reached peak smartphone” and it captures some of the smartphone angst that’s growing every day right now, including this quote:
“Smartphones are in a ridiculously boring place.”
Are they? Or does such a statement say more about the author than the state of smartphones. I don’t find my smartphone boring when I’m getting the latest real-time commentary about the stock market from people I respect on Scutify or when I open the Marketwatch app to read the articles they’re featuring. I don’t think it’s boring when I check my stock portfolios on my brokers’ apps on my smartphone. In fact, I prefer to use the apps over their websites even when I’m in front of my computer these days. When I read headlines, answer emails, talk on the phone, update my social media, post pictures, text and message friends and so on, I’m pretty sure none of that is ridiculously boring.
Moreover, it’s not like we’ve seen the end of innovation in smartphones. Smartphones are going to become ever more interactive with our voices, our gestures and our actions. Siri still sucks right now, but in another five years with lots of artificial intelligence and other improvements, it and other voice interactions will actually be helpful. Motion sensors in smartphones will make it easier to navigate from one app to another without having to touch your screen. Wearables will also tie into smartphones and will enable both voice, motion and other interactions and features — in another five years.
You can’t take the snapshot of smartphone technology in 2016 and think it will apply in 2020. Smartphones, and future versions of “smartphones” are going to be the dominant personal computing center for billions of people for the next couple decades.
Smartphone fatigue is another factor that’s impacting the way people think about the smartphone market right now. I’m sick of people looking at their smartphones, checking facebook, group messaging friends, reading emails, checking the news or otherwise not focusing on the real world going on around them. And I’m as bad as most other people about doing that too. We’re all sick of smartphone-dominant culture, but we all do our part to create that smartphone-dominant culture anyway. Is that going to change?
Sort of. I interviewed Brian Gallo on my Cody Underground Podcast the other day and he talked about how he’s trying to invest in the counter-trend of smartphone dominance — essentially, recognizing that there will be an Anti-Smartphone Revolution growing even as the Smartphone Revolution continues to be an ever bigger part of our lives in coming years as innovation continues to change the marketplace.
Brian mentioned meditation as a play on the Anti-Smartphone Revolution. Fitness, playing musical instruments and going to live events are others. Under Armour is an interesting stock because it’s both a Smartphone Revolution play with its fitness apps and smart clothing, and it’s simultaneously a play on the Anti-Smartphone Revolution with people working out.
And that underscores the main point I’m trying to make here. Smartphones aren’t going to go away, even though we are going to start looking and touching our smartphones screens much less than we do today. Apps and wearables and SmartClothes will measure and analyze and help you with your workouts and face-to-face social interactions and most everything else you do, even the things that are Anti-Smartphone in nature.
I could see people in meditation class using SmartHats to measure their meditative state. Then again, maybe meditation, prayer and a few other places in our lives should actually remain totally free from the Smartphone dominant life most of us lead.