It’s not just the iPhone I’m talking about either. Cell phones are going to be the next big thing. The only thing really holding back are bandwidth pricing that telephone companies are reluctant to bring down. Unlike normal ISPs, there is a higher barrier to entering the telephone market because it requires regulatory permission and lots of infrastructure investment before you get good enough coverage.
However, consumer demand will eventually bring about the services we all want. Here in Japan, anytime you ride the train most of the people regardless of generation are not reading books but fiddling with their cell phone. The market has lots of new and innovative phones and lots of users are either emailing friends, checking out websites, or playing games. Nowadays they’ll even be watching TV. This is because consumers have an assortment of plans to choose from and 3G is relatively common place so people don’t have to worry about racking up large bills with some unlimited bandwidth plans.
The biggest trend right now is the return of television. Japan is currently transitioning television broadcasts to use digital signals. ISDB-T（integrated service digital broadcasting-terrestrial) allows cell phones to add digital tuners to receive television signals on the phone. It also uses H.264/MPEG-4 AVC for high compression and quality.
Although some people discount the claim that cell phones are the next frontier for the web, I would argue that it is not the case. Most of the flawed arguments are trying to assert that mobile phones can never replace the full web experience and they are right.
However, we’re talking about two different things. Johnny at home and the office and Johnny on the go or outside of his element. There is immense value in providing a bridge for people away from their computers. Social networks are pushing for the mobile with success. Not only are the major social networks doing well but services like Twitter that are especially suited for the mobile crowd looking for status updates.
Televisions on the phone are the next big thing because it allows people who can’t stand being tied down to watch their favorite shows to basically take the television with them. The biggest problem with televesion in the internet age is that it tries to tie you down to a place with TV at a fixed time. You can of course record it but some people can’t be bothered. By putting television on the cell phone they remove the restrictions of location and with it time.
Essentially I see the cell phone providing “glue” features mainly for “checking up” on stuff with the option to use it for full functionality during emergencies. For example, you read emails on your cell phone to check up. If it’s urgent you fire off a message on the clumsy interface and follow up later.