Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Guess what I have, Granny!

I was too young to notice, but they tell me the invention of the transistor radio was quite earthshaking. For the first time, radios were un-tethered from power mains and auto dashboards. Pocket-sized devices could pull in signals just as good as the big upright chunk of furniture in your grandma's parlor. You could take the darn thing anywhere -- the park, the beach, anywhere you went. OK, the tinny, little speaker was not the best and if you spent the whole day at the beach, you had to take a supply of batteries. But you had freedom and you could hear Elvis on the radio, no matter where you were!

Imagine if you could tell your granny what you have now.

"Gram, I have this thing on my hip (or in my purse) that allows me to talk to people anywhere in the world instantly. I can send pictures, too. Heck, I can even take pictures with it. And make movies. And tie in to my computer. It even gets radio stations, like your old transistor radio, plus tons of other 'stations' that aren't even on the air. I can send text messages to my friends and reply to email. I can surf the web. And a lot more, too."

Of course, you could also tell Granny that more than 64,000,000 people in the US now subscribe to so-called Smartphones. That was the total in June 2008, an increase of 80% over June 2007, according to an article on the Emarketer web site.

As that growth continues, the Smartphone will soon reach the ubiquity of the broadcast radio receiver. It already has in some parts of the world (Asia). Your granny probably does not care, but anyone in advertising or broadcasting certainly should.

The way that advertisers interact with their customers is changing at breathtaking speed. Those who do not adjust and adapt may well be left on the front porch, rocking, watching the world pass them by.

Don Keith N4KC

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