How Consumers Are Using Their Phones, And What It Means

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Mobile is no longer a communications utility, but a media distribution hub. According to http://www.emarketer.com/(S(gjrgkh45dmewndatycqrprnz))/Article.aspx?R=1009431….99 ” target=”_blank”>eMarketer, mobile now accounts for 12 percent of Americans’ media consumption time, triple its share in 2009.

Where is this consumer attention being focused?

The biggest beneficiaries have been mobile apps. Time spent on apps dwarfs time spent on the mobile Web, and smartphone owners now spend 127 minutes per day in mobile apps.

“a media distribution hub,” no, not in my opinion.  That it displaces media consumption activities doesn’t make it a media distributor.

Mobile Advertising: The $20B Opportunity Mirage

We get closer to the heart of the matter when we look at a common thought pattern, an age-old and dangerously misleading algorithm:

The [new thing] is like the [old thing] only [smaller | bigger]

We’ve seen this formula, and its abuse, before. Decades ago, incumbents had to finally admit that minicomputers weren’t simply small mainframes. Manufacturers, vendors, software makers had to adapt to the constraints and benefits of a new, different environment. A semi-generation later, we saw it again: Microcomputers weren’t diminutive minicomputers but truly personal machines that consumers could lift with their arms, minds, and credit cards.

And nothing is more personal than the handset. We might have, in an era when “receive only” was the available option, accepted commercials on transistor radios, but we never did with the Walkman.

There is a continuum from cinema to the handset, along a number of dimensions, that suggests the conclusion of this article is correct.

PS Vita: Too Much, Too Late

It took touchscreens to blow the genre out of the water, but over the past few years, one thing has become clear: mobile games are different than console games. They operate on a different time-scale, they???re more comfortable with simple narratives than character progressions, and they do small puzzles in consumable chunks better than they do action. They???re played with distractions, they???re played with other people, and they need to be able to be put down and picked up at a moment???s notice.

The incumbent’s dilemma.

Digital Money, Mobile Media, and the Consequences of Granularity

Nicholas Negroponte famously insisted that the dotcom boomers, ???Move bits, not atoms.??? Ignorant of the atom heavy human bodies, neuron dense brains, and physical hardware needed to make and move those little bits, Negroponte???s ideal did become true in industrial sectors dependent upon communication and economic transaction. In the communication sector, atomic newspapers have been replaced by bitly news stories. In the transactional sector, coins are a nuisance, few carry dollars, and I just paid for a haircut with a credit card adaptor on the scissor-wielder???s Droid phone.

The human consequences of the bitification of atoms go far beyond my bourgeois consumption. This shift or what is could simply be called digitalization, when paired with their very material transportation systems or networked communication technologies, combines to form a powerful force that impacts local and global democracies and economies.

What are the local and political economics of granularity in the space shared between the fiduciary and the communicative? To understand the emergent political economy of the practices and discourses unifying around mobile media and digital money we need a shared language around the issue of granularity.

Grinding large incumbents into smart dust.