It's the End of Black and White TV All Over Again

The newly minted grandfathers of today will certainly be telling their grandkids "When I was a boy, we had to watch TV in black and white...". And they did. And they don't want to go back.

It was some time in the '90s that B&W TV's finally faded from store shelves. Everyone purchasing a new TV had finally gone color. The same thing happened to CRT TV's and computer monitors, you just can't get them anymore.

We're approaching another one of those inflection points, probably in the next few years: flip phones or standard (non-smart) phones will finally fade from carrier's inventory in industrialized countries. Well, they may keep one or two models because it will be easy enough, but almost all their sales will be smart phones.

This is an important point to consider now. That's because your mobile marketing, development plans, and forward thinking strategy need not be colored by the naysayers that claim there's not enough penetration to get serious about mobile apps or the mobile web. There's endless statistics that emerge on a regular basis showing increased smart phone market penetration and upward predictions. Here's some.

Very few people that are buying ordinary phones, really want them - it's usually a choice driven by economics. When a person without a phone is questioned about what kind of mobile device they would like to have, it's nearly certain that they want a smart phone.

Some market segments are behind others in smart phone sales and economy and income factors do exist. However, among the people that can afford a monthly mobile plan, the tide has turned, turned into a tsunami, and those that refuse to see it, are about to be swept under.

There are just two strategic choices:

  1. wait and wait and wait until it's so obvious that mobile is the most ubiquitous consumer communication platform ever (it encompasses the Internet ya know)
  2. get with the plan and get focused on riding the tsunami to a destination of your choosing, letting the slow movers get washed away

For those that can remember the marketing mindset of 1996, mobile is now in the same place as the World Wide Web was then and look what happened there. So, to avoid alienating your consumer base and driving them to your competition, you just can't wait for everyone to have a smart phone. You need to reach your mobile market now.

What are you going to do?


SPIA is a 2012 UX Award Winner!