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Smartphone Impoverishment


The precursor to the Smartphone was the PDA, basically invented by Palm. This was a very successful device and it became very much the businessman’s friend. From there, we see the evolution to the integration of telephone with the PDA which then was referred to as the Smartphone.

Palm was the first kid on the block to introduce the device but the company that was successful with it ultimately was Blackberry. In some ways, it is difficult to know why Blackberry was successful and yet Palm was not marketing the PDA as a Smartphone but from the standpoint of the most difficult aspect of the device it is clear to understand why Blackberry won. The most difficult aspect of a successful device was to be the communications component and Blackberry was a leader at that.

Blackberry becomes the Crackberry

In not too long a timeframe, the Blackberry became fondly known as the crackberry, or to put it another way, Crackberry helped us understand the addictive qualities that belonged to the Blackberry. Many people had trouble parting with their device at the end of the day. In some ways, it looked like there was no stopping Blackberry.

The Blackberry was a resounding success. It seemed little could stop it, not even its strongest competition, that of the Windows phone. Likely, much of this had to do with its nimbleness, speed and ease of mobility. However, its unencumbered success was not to last and much has been written about this.

The iPhone

In 2007, Steve Jobs presented the first iPhone. Although the first iphone was not announced until January 9, 2007, it wasn’t until June 29, 2007 that the first iphone was available. Although Blackberry pooh poohed the iPhone as a toy, it was in reality an instant success. What differentiated this device from previous attempts to penetrate the market is as Jim Basille quietly noted internally at Blackberry was that the iPhone was a computer in the palm of your hand. In an article titled “The inside story of how the iPhone crippled BlackBerry” aspects of the undoing by Apple of the Blackberry were being well understood.

The iconic Blackberry, for all intents and purposes was about to be dethroned. However, of significance before this happened was the degree to which people went to acquire a Blackberry. Relationships were faltering due to the addictive time the device was commanding and the world was changing. With the iphone though, the extension of this phenomenon was about to be drastically enhanced.

The Rise and Rise of the Smartphone

With the introduction of the iPhone a new success was instilled. The Crackberry was to be just fondly remembered as that addictive device. Yet, what of the Smartphone. The device became a success at an uncanny speed. At first, although it was seen as somewhat of a toy, it quickly turned into a device, on many fronts, that one just could not do without. To remain relevant, and this is a massive word, one had to have a Smartphone.

This is reasonable. It became a device of instant information; a communictions tool that helped with rapid responses and an integral integrator and connector of people, information and plans. As this was happening, the Smartphone was also escalating in price. One could say it wasn’t cheap in the beginning but it was reasonable. As more and more technology was added to it, so too did the price rise.


The iphone wasn’t the only kid on the block. Google had purchased the rights to Android and made it available to manufacturers as open source. Since there were so many of these players, they kept the price at Bay. The iphone was expensive yet there was an alternative.

However, the Android has as good as or better technology in some cases than the iPhone. These premium phones would eventually be known as flagship phones which produced greater profits. The world was changing rapidly. That is, you could buy a portable computer for in some cases less that a Smartphone. It’s important to remember though that a Smartphone is not a computer.

Sliding towards Smartphone Impoverishment

The Smartphone had proved its mettle. However, just as the successful Blackberry was addictive the Smartphone has well bested that. Subtle but ingenious ads by Apple had people buying every iteration of Smartphone as if it was today’s newspaper. In the I.T. World it was not uncommon to amortize a piece of equipment over 5 years. Three years was broaching it.

With todays Smartphone, people seem to be of the notion that they have to have every new iteration of an ever increasingly priced device. Reason and rationality were giving over to the advertisers, Apple’s subtle message of currency and an ever bleeding of those that bought into this folly.

Todays Smartphones are loaded. They have a life span that is more than a year. In fact, the power that comes in say a iPhone 7 or an HTC 10 is more than enough to last a reasonable period of time. Yet, the consumer is falling prey to these subtle messages that you can’t be there fast enough. Impoverishment by way of the Smartphone simply is not that smart.

The Mastery of Advertising

No one has mastered advertising as well as Apple. They take a product, tweak it modestly, call it something new (generally has pro associated with it these days) and through almost artistic advertising market it to the nth degree making the comsumer feel this relativey unchanged device is now magical. Release date comes; consumers line up at the store to replace their 7 with the 7 + because it’s oh so much better and all you have accomplished is a few moments of achieving artificial nirvana through the magic of Apple advertishing.

However, you must have it to keep up with everyone. You must have it for your image might falter if you don’t. You definitely have to keep up to the “Jone’s.“ What would become of you if it weren’t for Apple advertishing keeping you in the know. It doesn’t matter that the HTC 10 is a superior phone. Apple advertising hasn’t said that. If they did, well then they must be having a bad day because Apple advertising is geared to making “your“ life ever so perfect so even though the HTC 10 is better in every way than the iPhone 7 it could not possibly make you life perfect.

Perfect to deny you the Inconvenience of Travel

Yesteryear’s young fellow, if he had a few pennies to spare” traveled. There was no iPhone to magically make his life perfect so he must have been escaping. However, if you are a young person who wants the perfection of living with an iPhone yet travel too, as inconvenient as it can be, you simply borrow money. You keep borrowing money for that new iPhone every year and the other stuff that creates the substance of life goes by the wayside. Suddenly, you’re having a moment or an existential crisis and a psychiatrist is brought on board to help you figure out what’s wrong in your life.

Funny as you travel how you actually enjoy it. Strange that you might find an historical monument of interest but regardless, even if you don’t travel you’re iPhone will wisk you there in a nanosecond. Convenience, speed and the ability to buy more iPhones as they’re released keeping you on the cutting edge yet allowing you cultural divergence.

Heretical Thought: Maybe you Don’t Need a new iPhone every Year or Two or even Three

Today’s Smartphones have come a long way in a very short period of time. They are loaded with Technology so much so that real innovation is hard to achieve when it’s been achieved. Instead of plopping down $1000 every 6 months to a year, it is OK to hang on to today’s Smartphone for a good period of time.

Systems amortization or the way a company would write it down was initially over five years and then it went to three. It is perfectly OK to take today’s Smartphone and amortize it over a similar period. Voila; more money for you to do life things. No longer truly iPhone impoverished there is now some money for a trip and yet even if it might have to be financed but at a completely different level that is manageable and still allows you to live a life.

On Steve Jobs Famous Quote at the Stansford Commencement

In the article “45 Ways To Live Life To The Fullest

by Keep Inspiring Me

the 45th item Steve Job’s is asking “To quote the Dalai Lamai“. Do we live as though we will never die; then die never having lived?“ It unfortunately, by many, is answered by the latter. And once in our death beds we will never asked if I could only get one more iPhone. Hopefully, we will wonder what we might have done with our lives instead of enriched the rich at our own impoverishment.

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