The Mobile Industry As We Know It


Quick introduction: I'm Phil Oakley. I'm 17, I go to a UK Sixth Form, studying for my A-Levels, and I'm UltraLinx's newest writer. I'll mostly be doing long-form editorials for the site, as well as posting my own thoughts and opinions on the mobile industry.

Onto the serious stuff!

Editor's note: Phil is one of the guys behind ROU UI. You can follow him on Twitter here - @redbullcat

The Mobile Industry As We Know It

The mobile industry is changing. 10 years ago we'd just been introduced to the BlackBerry, 3G was a distant dream, and a 2 inch screen was considered 'big'. Now, we're looking at quad core phones, phones with 4.3 inch screens are pretty commonplace, and we have computers the size of the credit card, in the form of the Raspberry Pi.

I don't know about you, but I feel like this has gone quite quickly. But this is only the start.

In 2011, I went to Apps World Europe. I had a fascinating time; I learnt a lot about our industry, where it's headed, and what we need to do to be in on that.

One thing I learnt there that has really stuck in my head is India's $35 tablet. I knew about this device from reading about it on the net, and thought it was amazing that something that in the UK can cost £500 or more, and India have one available for less than a tenth of the price. OK, maybe the quality isn't quite the same, but you get my drift.

I learnt that effectively, we are the early adopters of touchscreen phones and tablets. With the $35 tablet, the mobile industry is going to explode. Why? 1.4 million people have pre-ordered the $35 tablet in India - all of these people are going to have full access to the Android Market. Sales for this tablet is only going to go one way - up. And that's a good thing. A few years ago Steve Jobs famously said at the iPad launch, "It's like having the internet in the palm of your hands." Well, now it's India's turn to experience the internet.

The second place the industry is going to explode is education. Tablets are made for classroooms. Imagine it for a second. You're in an art class. Every student has an iPad/tablet in front of them. The teacher asks them to find pictures of something on the internet. Off the students go. 5 minutes gone, the teacher asks for silence. She asks the students to show her what they'd found. Suddenly every student flicks up on their tablets screens, and a few seconds later, the images they'd found arrives on the teacher's interactive whiteboard at the front.

I truly, truly believe that this is what tablets are truly made for. I remember in primary school, aged 8 or 9, using laptops the school provided. At the time, I thought they were fantastic, but now I realise a tablet would have been a lot better at this job.

So I guess what I'm saying is if you're an app developer, you need to go away right now and do two things:

  1. Translate your app into languages of the developing world. The third world is next in gaining what we already have.
  2. Look at education apps and how you could get into that specific industry.

You could go into your local school and ask to observe a lesson. Take notes on what the students in that lesson are doing and how technology would improve this. Think about how technology has improved your life, then think about how it might improve theirs. Then go make that app.

[picture credit]