It arrived today and I am more than just a little bit excited; my new smartphone is here. And smart it certainly is. With over 30,000 different downloadable applications, my phone can pick up my emails, tell me the name of a song on the radio and give me a list of local restaurants along with a digital discount coupon, wherever I am in the world. Although some apps are less useful: ants on my screen and vuvuzela to name just two. Useful or not, before now I’ve had just two options: call or text. Fortunately those dark days are behind me as I’m now carrying a pocket-sized portal to the digital world wherever I go.
And I’m not alone. There are over 11 million of us in the UK and the number continues to soar – up 70% in the past year – as the digitally excitable (like me) shed their old phones for an all-singing all-dancing smart handset. That means that over one in five of us are now wirelessly wired in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
This revolution has not gone unnoticed. Smartphones have opened up a new gateway for communication, entertainment and services for people on the go. News, blogs and social networking sites have found their playground and big companies have begun to realise the potential too. A myriad of useless bits of fun have appeared such as spin the Coca Cola bottle, slide down the Barclaycard flume, drink a virtual Carling…. Brands are popping up in all sorts of mini games in a new wave of interactive tactile advertising.
Fun aside, handy apps that are useful for consumers are popping up as well. Updates on your favourite high-street fashion stores, gadgetry, film, music and anything else you can think of are at your fingertips. We can choose what we want and how we want to get it, forcing the market to invent interactive, practical and imaginative ways to reach us on a four inch touch screen.
Niches are being filled with the bizarre and the brilliant as we speak. Loosen your belt, because this is digital gluttony – and I love it.