Mobile phones in India were launched in late 1997 or early 1998 if my memory serves me right. For the first time mobile users, the choices were very limited. The “brick” like Nokia 5100 with the antenna and the crazy packages that came along with the deals that charged as high as Rs.14 for incoming calls and a higher amount for outgoing calls. Very few people had them and the ones who had them were obviously the rich and famous. I was in college then and recall how owning a laptop in those days was a big deal.
I still remember how a friend of mine was going back to Kerala on a train and had a few interesting companions – a laptop user who started to pull up the laptop and according to my friend “show off” and another, who went a step further to pull out his laptop and plug in his mobile phone to browse the internet. These were days when telephony in India was prohibitively expensive and this left my friend flummoxed!
Turn back the time and in just over 10 years, the face of mobile telephony has changed. With the devices getting smaller by the day and features increasing by the day, the mobile phone is pretty much the be all and end all of any modern Indian man – pardon me for sounding a bit biased here, I still believe the women don’t get it with gadgets and start a lot later than men here!
The in-thing is the new touch screen phone and this seems to be the next big thing in the mobile world! I don’t know who came first between HTC and the iPhone, but these two together have effectively changed the way the world sees mobile phones. I recall the hype the iPhone created in the US when they were being launched in 2007. Crowds braved bad weather and wanted to make history and waited overnight at stores to get phones as they were launched. For the connoisseur of the mobile, the iPhone was dubbed the Idiot Phone.
Simple – It does everything that a phone is not intended to do, what with an integrated bipod and a fancy camera and auto tilt screens. The iPhone has evolved over the last 2 years and there are newer and better versions out in the market. When India got its chance to get the iPhone officially, the hype was no different.
The iPhone has done to the market what no other phone over the last few years did – touch screen phones are the rage in town today. The last time I remotely remember anything like this being a rage was when we had the season of phones with a stylus. One may argue that this was the mother of the touch screen in a manner of speaking. But that said, the styles fever wasn’t as hot or anywhere as close to the touch screen fever.
In a matter of a few months, the competition has reacted and reacted strongly. Nokia’s 5880 is huge hit. It brings the traditional “durability” factor along with the touch screen phone that most people think lacks in the iPhone. With its provision for expandable memory and the market wining strategy of half the price of the iPhone, it’s a hot deal in town today.
The eye brow rising, WOW change for me comes from Blackberry. Who on earth thought that Blackberry with its huge office email using base will go touch screen. They were so renowned for their QWERTY keyboard and they changed, releasing the Blackberry Storm very close on the heels of their release of the Bold. I was reading an article where they shamelessly accepted that they had to make this change to keep pace with iPhone for the fear of being left far behind.
One thing is certain though. Technology being technology, things will change and change fast.
Any guess on what will take over from the touch screens?
Image Credit: powerbooktrance