From the first heavy and bulky and limited use mobile phones of the late 1940s to the smart phones of today, mobile phone technology has catapulted the world to its present state of instant gratification. Most people can be instantly contacted by family, friends or business associates wherever they are. Mobile phone subscribers jumped from 11 million worldwide at the end of 1990 to 320 million in 1998 and there were over 5.6 billion subscribers worldwide in 2011.
Most people today carry retail shopping capability and all of their information, communication and entertainment needs accessible at their fingertips right “now”. People can do everything on the go, from planning a trip complete with making the reservations and purchasing the tickets – to finding the perfect restaurant nearest to wherever they happen to be and making dinner reservations, getting some shopping done and, surfing the web for news or just checking email.
According to a recent survey of technology experts, teens and young adults who have grown up from childhood always connected “will be nimble, quick acting multitaskers who rely on the internet as their external brain and approach problems a different way from their elders”.
Experts surveyed by Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center and the Pew Internet Project said “the effects of hyperconnectivity and the always-on lifestyles of young people will be mostly positive between now and 2020. But the experts in this survey also predicted this generation will exhibit a thirst for instant gratification and quick fixes, a loss of patience, and a lack of deep-thinking ability due to what one referred to as “fast-twitch wiring.”
What more instant gratification could be technologically possible when there are already so many convenience applications packed into the small, ultra light, hand held mobile telephone devices available today? There is more to come! Experts predict that cash and credit cards will become obsolete as people replace them by the use of their mobile phones to make payments both online and in stores in the UK by the year 2016 and in the US by the year 2020.
Some people are already using the Google Wallet application now, or using Square to turn their mobile phones into mobile cash registers now. ComScore reported in December that 38% of smartphone users had used their phones to make a purchase of some kind. A study conducted earlier by Pew found that one third of all smartphone owners had used their phone to do some sort of banking and that nearly half had paid for an app with their phone.
An impressive 65% of respondents surveyed agreed with the statement that: “ by 2020, most people will have embraced and fully adopted the use of smart-device swiping for purchases they make, nearly eliminating the need for cash or credit cards. People will come to trust and rely on personal hardware and software for handling monetary transactions over the Internet and in stores. Cash and credit cards will have mostly disappeared from many of the transactions that occur in advanced countries.”
Stay tuned, rumor has it that Facebook and HTC are working together on a Facebook smartphone that could be on the retail market as soon as the third quarter of this year. The timing would be great for a Facebook phone to be in on the ground floor as one of the first smart phones used to replace credit cards and cash.