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Wow, You Don’t Have a Smartphone?

A few weeks ago I went out to dinner with some friends and colleagues in San Diego’s Old Town district. My typical tradeshow dinner companions are almost always smartphone-addicted professionals; we are all attached to our mobile devices and sometimes refer to them as our “outboard brains”. But when we are together, we try to set technology aside and actually talk to each other. 


At this particular dinner, we were talking about our families, and one new team member pulled out her phone to show a photo of her one year old twin daughters. There was a moment of quiet review (where we assumed he was studying the sweet kids), but the pause was followed not with the expected “oh they’re adorable”, but rather with the comment “Wow, you don’t have a smartphone?” After some laughs and an “Oh, the kids are really cute too”, the phone was passed to another friend who looked and the picture and commented “Cute kids, but I still can’t understand how you even use this phone.”


I know there are millions of people out there who still use feature phones, but most in my regular circle have smartphones. Our conversations revolve around the coolest new app, new OS features, or Facebook analytics with Wolfram-Alpha. This experience with a feature phone user made me wonder if I have become a bit of mobile device snob. I remember the first time I had to stay at a very seedy $30 a night hotel after I got used to staying at the three and four star hotels of the world. I remember actually sitting on the bed, teary-eyed, thinking ‘there is no possible way I can sleep here’. If the same thing happened and my phone was taken away and replaced with a feature phone, I think the reaction would be much stronger. I would be lost.


I know every industry and employee had adopted mobility at vastly different rates. Today I read a 118 page research report today on the state of mobility in the enterprise and I was excited about what I read. It was interesting to look at the adoption of mobility across different job titles, industries and lines of business. The one thing that stuck in my mind throughout the report is that mobility is finally being adopted by virtually everyone. The report, published by J. Gold Associates showed that Primary Users by Title of Mobile Applications were C-level executives (49%), VP/Director Level (58%), Managers/Department heads (61%) and Staff (58%). Every category is at or above 50% adoption and no one is being left behind. Mobility has moved its way from the boardroom all the way through the organization with significant uptake by every employee along the way.


The pervasive nature of rapid adoption of mobile is so exciting for me. I’m looking forward to sharing more statistics from this great research report in the coming weeks. I hope they’ll help you realize that mobile is here to stay. And to my friend with the twin daughters and feature phone (who shall remain nameless) – it’s really time to upgrade!

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  • but I still can’t understand how you even use this phone.

    Well, welcome to reality. This is how the world population is living. The vast majority simply does not have the money to buy a smartphone, is too young, too old or just wants a phone. Even when accidentally it’s a smartphone, not everyone is also buying a data plan.

    I had to stay at a very seedy $30 a night hotel […]. I remember actually sitting on the bed, teary-eyed, thinking ‘there is no possible way I can sleep here’

    Same here: for many people this $30 hotel is a dream.

    I have the impression the report you are reading and your perception of mobility is driven and influenced by where you live. Nothing wrong with that, but every region has it’s own unique requirements.