Technalysis Research
Previous Blogs

July 22, 2014
The Joy of Vintage Tech

July 15, 2014
Digital Generation Gap

July 8, 2014
Virtualization Reborn

July 1, 2014
Portable Digital Identities

June 24, 2014
The Future of UI: Contextual Intelligence

June 17, 2014
Moving to Markets of One

June 16, 2014
Insider Extra: Dell and the Battle for Business

June 10, 2014
Screen Overload to Drive Screen-less Devices

June 3, 2014
Apple Drives Vision of Seamless Multi-Device Computing

May 27, 2014
Surface Pro 3: The Future of PCs?

May 22, 2014
Insider Extra: SanDisk: The Many Faces of Flash

May 20, 2014
The Technological Divining Rod

May 13, 2014
Computing in the Cloud

May 6, 2014
Device Usage a Question of Degree

April 29, 2014
The Next Smartphone Battleground: Durability

April 22, 2014
BYOD: A Work in Progress

April 18, 2014
Insider Extra: AMD Back in the Groove

April 15, 2014
The Mobility Myth

April 9, 2014
BYOD Dilemma: Devices vs. Data

April 8, 2014
Insider Extra: Qualcomm's Evolving Story

April 1, 2014
A Wearables Forecast

March 25, 2014
Measuring Success in Wearables? It's Thousands of Thousands

March 24, 2014
Insider Extra: Intel Strategy Moves Forward

March 18, 2014
IOT: Islands of Isolated Things?

March 11, 2014
Wearables Cautionary Tale

March 4, 2014
The New Platform Battle

February 25, 2014
Watch What Happens

February 18, 2014
Talkin' 'bout Touchpads

February 11, 2014
The MultiOS Conundrum

February 4, 2014
Computing Redefined

January 28, 2014
The Apple Problem

January 21, 2014
The 2-in-1s People Might Want

January 14, 2014
The Post Tablet Era

January 7, 2014
The Innovation Asymptote

December 31, 2013
Top 5 2014 Predictions

December 17, 2013
Holiday Shoppers Gifting Themselves

December 10, 2013
Companion Apps

December 3, 2013
Aisle Check

TECHnalysis Research Blog

July 29, 2014
Smartphones: Life’s Remote Control

The growing use of smartphones in more and more activities has led me to realize that, in essence, they’ve become the primary tool through which we run our lives: a personal remote control. Like a remote control, they’re (generally) convenient to use, always nearby, and offer instant gratification—or at least, instant access to choice.

Smartphones are, of course, pocketable computers, but they’re capability is extending into so much more. They’re pocket maps, communications consoles, portable entertainment centers, infinite reference guides, wireless televisions, miniature game consoles, digital cameras, home automation controllers, remote video monitors, electronic banking devices, printer-free ticket holders, health and wellness displays, artist’s palettes, musical instruments, oh, yeah, and TV remote controls.

Moving forward, as I’ve discussed before (see “Portable Digital Identities”), I expect them to eventually become our digital identity cards as well, for legal identification (with state and federal government agencies), credit identification (for purchases and other banking transactions) and health identification (carrying all our personal health records and other critical medical data). At that point, they will really have the capabilities to allow us to remotely control our lives and all the activities in which we engage.

As powerful as smartphones are and continue to be, however, they do have their limits—primarily due to their physical size. Average screen sizes are increasing, but there are still restrictions on how big they can realistically get before people balk at carrying a device that’s too large to carry with them all the time, or that’s too difficult to manage with a single hand.

That’s where smartphones tie into another aspect of being a remote control: they typically work with larger devices. Now, unlike remote controls, smartphones are obviously fully independent devices that don’t require another device to actually function or offer value. However, there is only so much that you can achieve or do on a smartphone, even one of the large-screen varieties. This is one of many reasons why I’m still reasonably optimistic about the consumer PC market.

Larger screens are still important for a lot of activities that people regularly engage in, regardless of age (as my recent survey on consumer device usage clearly pointed out—see “Digital Generation Gap” for more). In fact, I think we will continue to see even more usage of larger and higher-resolution displays along with PCs—another reason why there’s still a future for desktop PCs, by the way. Having access to computing devices with larger screens allows for extensions and enhancements to the types of activities we’re already doing on smartphones, as well as activities that really only make sense on larger screens.

But for the day-to-day stuff of life, the smartphone has really evolved into an incredibly useful tool that its somewhat limiting-sounding name doesn’t even begin to do it justice. I’m not really sure what could replace the word, “smartphone”, but for many, a personal life remote probably isn’t a bad start.

Here's a link to the original column:

Leveraging more than 10 years of award-winning, professional radio experience, TECHnalysis Research participates in regular audio podcasts in conjunction with the team at
  Research Schedule
A list of the documents that TECHnalysis Research plans to publish in 2015 can be found here.