|4G is a game changed|
Right now tablets are only just useable and yet they are set to outsell traditional laptops and desktops combined in 2015.
We have seen this before, twice. I have in the past talked about the second phase of the ICT revolution; I see now I was wrong. Actually we are about to enter the third phase. Such phases, or waves of change, are characterised by a new technology being taken up whilst it is still only just usable. This effect is the perfect indicator of massive change. If a technology is just OK then it's take up is progressive as it advances (thing of Diesel engines in cars) but if a technology is utterly transformation, we see people take it up despite it being very limited initially (think penicillin, aeroplanes and tablets).
Consider this, back in the mid 1940s computers really were only just usable. By the mid 1950s large corporations realised they should have them. By the mid 1960s they were essential. I was part of the micro-computer wave (the second phase). I remember trying to explain to my mother what micro-computers might be useful for; she quite rightly did not get it. They were not really much use for anything, but the potential and their ability to do those few things they could do was amazing.
Laptops were not a wave; they grew slowly. The utility of one is amazing, but not transformatory. They are too heavy, and to complex and just not a revolution. Putting a steam engine on wheels changed the world completely and utterly. Laptops were like high pressure steam engines, really useful but not a revolution; the iPad is Stephenson's Rocket, with it we enter a new era. Putting tablets on 4G will be, is being, just as big if not bigger. Steam engines on rails (let us call them trains) meant people could travel at super animal speeds for the first time. On day were were limited to a galloping horse, the next we were not; suddenly we could travel were we wanted at speeds which made such transport practical. Putting Tablets on 4G means we no longer have have to travel. With a tablet and good 4G access we can be everywhere at the same time. Yes we thought video conferencing would kill of travel but it was too clunky in the computer based 20th century world. Video conferencing from your bedroom from a device the size of your hand - that is the true revolution.
The devil is in the detail. If you work in a modern office environment you might well have had the experience of despirately needing a coffee but being stuck on a conference call (of doom). I found the solution two days ago; I used my phablet (phones and tables are really just the same things now - I call them phablets). I put on my headset, attached it to my iPhone and made a coffee whilst on the call. Which meant that 5 minutes I would have spent making the coffee after the call was not unproductive time.
Similarly, I am sat on a train writing this using my larger phablet... Actually, now I am on the tube! Have you ever tried to use a laptop on the London Undergroud? Don't bother, it is really, stupidly hard. Now I am finishing this paragraph sat by the pool in a Finca in Spain. Can you tell?
What we are looking at is a new level of mobility; a situation where phablets, with a some more development, will start to shift the way we think about life at a cultural level. We will break down the age old correlation between location and activity. My wife already does the week's food shopping whilst we sit in bed. At the same time I often do a bit of research and reading. If she is not shopping she is researching and I am surfing youtube: all on our phablets. Such a disconnection between location and activity is very new. What meaning a "reading chair" and a ’listening room’ when we can listen and read using the same device whilst sitting in a cable car on the way to skiing?
As we disentangle our prejudice over location and activity for leisure so we will for work. Not only at the level of remote working but also with work times. It does not matter where or when people work if they can still communicate; I communicate with my Chinese team members from the train and those trom the US whilst in the bath. Delivery drivers to doctors can fit their time and location around their needs and the needs of their end users; no longer shall we all be synchronised to some external rigid clock simply to allow some form of primitive coordination.