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Why the smartphone has taken over


In developing markets such as found in the Middle East & Africa, Internet costs are still exorbitantly high. Take the UAE as an example, as an economy it is not third world, it's infrastructure is not third world, but yet it is U$30 for an "elite" package from the operator. For this elite package you get 100 minutes, 100 SMS and 100 Mb data, WOW!!! 100 Mb data. Are you bloody kidding?

For my summer holiday, we are in the UK again, and then off to France. So I decided to get pre-paid SIM's for my wife and I, admittedly I had done some prior research, so know exactly which one I wanted. So we found the 3UK store in Oxford street and purchase 2 pre-paid SIM's for £15 each, let's call that U$25. So what did I get for this? Well, 300 minutes of calling, 3000 SMS, and all you can eat data, great 3G data until you burst!

Then you start to look at all those around you, and observe what they are doing. Everyone is fully engrossed in some form of mobile device, whether a phone or tablet or even both.

Lucky for me I have a UK account to buy apps and have some relevant ones. And what have I ended up doing? Watched live TV courtesy of the BBC, live news from Sky News on my iPad but also out on the street on my phone. No bill shock to worry about, just consume consume consume. And then let's watch YouTube for hours, e-mail, browsing; it's like Internet virgin heaven.

Then there are the ever constant Facebook updates with a picture from every street corners, silly check ins from place my friends probably could't care that I was at, or they see it and think: "bastard, just rubbing it in that I am in the office" you actually just go online and do anything, even if just to check that the Internet does not expire at 100Mb.

So it is no wonder that the smartphone and iPad are taking off like mad. Oh and now it makes total sense why there is a 3G iPad, why not at £10 per month unlimited for tablets. Madness!

It is fundamentally changing the way we entertain and educate ourselves. Why have a newspaper? Or TV? or Radio? You can do all of that online, anytime for as long as you want.

So right now those smartphone free markets all that is keeping it the bastion of the dumb phone is the fact that the operators are keeping a noose around our data pipes. Free us up already and let us become digital explorers and free us from the confines of our homes and offices to have cost effective Internet (Mmm my home Internet is U$100 a month for unlimited, so not really cost effective either).

The smartphone has given us instant access to content in a user friendly format, anywhere, anytime. You can consume selfishly on you own or share, whatever you prefer. But it is you choice and that is what our new connected life is: Choice!

And the best is, I am sitting in my Paris hotel room, writing this on my iPad while my wife sits next to me watching her a comedy show on her iPad. My plan my not be called Elite, but it sure feels elite.

Cost comparison of what your get for GBP15 (UK data is unlimited so scale capped visually here at 5000):


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