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The importance of being mobile (part one) | Day-to-day life and behaviour

2 min, 39 sec read
17:30 PM | 18 February 2013

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A look at how smartphones and mobile applications are changing our lives and behaviour.

Over the coming weeks I’ll be talking about some interesting aspects of smartphones and mobile applications. But first, let’s discuss the importance of smartphones and mobile applications in our daily lives.

Smartphones can be highly addictive. Some people might even go as far as comparing them to cigarettes (addictive, expensive, annoying). But most of the time these devices change our lives in positive way than unlike cigarettes and other addictions.

Most smartphone owners feel lost whenever they don’t have access to their phone. This is another indicator of the importance of these devices in our daily routines. We slowly nurture the oppressive feeling that we cannot live without our smartphones.

What if you lost your phone? You must get anxious just from the thought of it. No? Then think about all that private information stuffed onto your phone: auto saved passwords, social media accounts, email addresses and of course phone numbers.

Fortunately most of the time we safely carry our devices along and reap the benefits of our “always connected” lifestyle. There are two major factors that are affecting this trend: ubiquity and extensibility (a result of ubiquity).

Ubiquity covers not the mere aspect of the availability and ownership of smartphones but the seamless connection we have nowadays to different online services. This completely changes our behavior and time-space perspective.

Usually certain actions require us to be in a specific place (maybe even at a specific time). E.g. a few years ago you needed to go to the bank for certain financial services. Nowadays we can do this (and much more of course) on the go with our smartphones. This automatically affects our extensibility, we can easily multitask. You can book your next flight while waiting at the dentist or reply to emails while commuting. This makes us more flexible, in time and space, than we used to be.

Some believe that multitasking, etc. lowers the quality of everything we do. Because our attention is focused on the smartphone that we carry with us, we pay less attention to our environment and stop communicating with the people around us.

That is why we’re seeing trends that try to limit and control the time we spend on our smartphones while engaging with the people in our direct surroundings. A great recent example is “Phone stacking”. Here’s how it works: At the beginning of a meal, everyone puts their phone face down at the center of the table. As time goes on, you’ll hear various calls, texts, and emails, but you can’t pick up your phone. If you’re the first one to give in to temptation, you’re buying dinner for everyone else. If no one picks up, then everyone pays for themselves. (TechCrunch, 2013).

The smartphone and mobile application industry landscape is rapidly changing, with new fascinating phones, services and applications being released on a daily basis. And as you might have noticed by now these new developments can change our lives and behavior in many interesting ways.

Stay tuned. Next time we’ll discuss mobile applications and education. 

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