Mobile technology continues to flatten the world

hypnophoneHave you ever met a billionaire? I have met a few and in somewhat casual circumstances. No I am not ‘good buddies’ with any of them nor will I ever be. I’m here to let you know that the billionaires I’ve met all have been very nice (why shouldn’t they be? – They’re billionaires!) and thoughtful people.

At the other end of the socio-economic spectrum I do know a good many more people who are living less than what is considered lower middle-class economic lives. In other words, by economists’ standards they are ‘poor’. I am friendly with lots of these people whom I get together with in varying degrees of frequency.

The two ‘groups’ – that is billionaires and those that live above and below the poverty line (which in the United States in 2014 was $23,850 for an individual), do have something in common. Their smartphones.

Earlier this year an article reported that 75% of Americans who had mobile devices had smartphones. That number was projected to approach 85% by the end of 2015.   So think about the fact that American billionaires AND the least prosperous Americans all use the same iPhone or Android phone, (Or Blackberry, which may or may not have the right to be called a smartphone).

So why is there not a luxury/high performance smartphone experience that can be purchased from Apple, Samsung, or any other manufacturer? I don’t mean studding your phone case with beads, wood, diamonds, or any other precious gems. It’s what’s on the inside that counts and smartphone manufacturers surely could create a high-end exclusive model and sell it for an exorbitant price. People would buy it. And not only billionaires would buy. In recent years China‘s young entry-level workers have found ways to set aside months of salary or more just to purchase an authentic iPhone.

For now smartphone utility is the same independent of economic status. The same apps area available to all, the same functionality, as well as the same frustrations when one’s smartphone performance begins to degrade – and eventuality that (sadly) is also a universal smartphone customer experience.

As user daily mobile interaction continues to increase so will the habits and the similarities in behavior of billionaires and everyone else. After all we’re all staring for hours a day at our 4-inch screens. It’s never before been possible for the super-rich and the extremely poor to exhibit such similar daily behavior.

In an odd twist smartphone behavior brings us all closer together in some ways.  Is that important?  I think so.

About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver, baseball lover
This entry was posted in Consumer Behavior, Living in the World Today and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Mobile technology continues to flatten the world

  1. It may have more to do with what you use your device for than the device itself. In the smart phone world, high performance may have more to do with available memory, how much bandwidth you get from your carrier, who your carrier is, and what sort of apps you have on your device.

    Your friendly neighborhood billionaire may have an iPhone6, just like his gardener. But he may have the 128G model while the gardener has the 16G. The gardener may have an off-brand carrier and just use it for mail, phone, photos, some social media and texting. The billionaire, however, may have apps that are appropriate to the upper class: food delivery, Uber Black Car, dry cleaner delivery, amazon prime, etc.

    So perhaps the new digital divide will be apps, not technology?


    • markkolier says:

      Interesting perspective and good point on WHAT you use the device for versus the device itself Joe. At present apps are all about the same price give or take. The memory aspect of having a lot of apps is a real one and definitely could be a future separator. Thanks!


      • I wasn’t thinking so much about the cost of the apps, as what their specific uses were for. Would a custodian, temp worker or cashier have much use for Uber or a food delivery service? Likewise, while they may use a free version of the app, would they pay $2.99 for the upgrade? It would depend on the actual value it brought them. A billionaire, or someone just on the edge of the 1% would not think twice.


      • markkolier says:

        I can’t say that I am certain that the price/utility of a great number of apps would be a deciding factor. An Uber car in Miami is something like $4. That makes it less expensive than parking! That noted there will be apps tailored to the well-heeled that everyday people will have zero utility for!


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