Smartphones Can Do Anything, Right?

Once upon a time, frankly not that long ago, a telephone was something that was tethered by a wire to a phone jack and that enabled people to make telephone calls — nothing more. A home had one phone line, and perhaps multiple phones for that line.

Things became just a bit more interesting later when a home had more than one phone line. That meant, for example, that a teenager could stay up all night gabbing on the teenager’s phone line without interfering with the ability of family members to make a phone call on another home line.

This still was a fairly simple situation. When we were out and about in the world, our phones did not follow us. Our communications tended to be more in-person, and perhaps we observed what was happening in the world around us with a bit more of a keen sense, without any technological distractions.

In the late 1980s, we witnessed the first “mobile” phones. These phones were behemoths. Such a phone and its battery pack literally took up a large briefcase to carry around. Other than the cachet of parading the fact of owning the behemoth mobile phone, it honestly was easier to use a pay phone when out of the home or office.

But in the 1990s and thereafter, mobile phone technology developed exponentially in terms of size, functionality, and convenience. And now, in a small device about the size of a pack of cards, or smaller, we literally have the world at our fingertips.
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Apps Gone Wild: Is There Anything They Can’t Do?

Once upon a time, I was known as Inspector Gadget. Why? Because I wore on my belt three different devices — a mobile phone, an iPod, and a Palm Pilot. The phone was only good for calls, the iPod could only play music, and the non-wireless Palm Pilot was simply a calendaring assistant.

I wondered then whether there could ever be convergence, such that at some point I only would need to carry around one device. Of course, that did happen, but the convergence occurred beyond my wildest dreams.

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