Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Changing the World

This post isn't really about me, and is probably going to end up more like the kind of work I do for school, but I don't care. It's my blog, so I'll post what I want.

Motorola announced this morning the Moto G, a new smartphone. It's generally an unremarkable mid-range phone, with specs that are comparable to flagship devices of 2011. What is remarkable, however, is the price. Motorola is releasing this phone at $179 outright for the 8 GB model and $199 for the 16 GB model. That is crazy.

This isn't the first $200 smartphone. LG's Optimus One hit that price point a couple of years ago, and Nokia has both Asha and Lumia devices in the $200 range. However, while this phone is not a flagship smartphone by any means, it is by far the best device I've ever seen at that price point.

I just bought a Google/LG Nexus 5 a couple of weeks ago (it's an awesome phone, by the way). I had only had my Nexus 4 for about six months, but at $350 it was cheap enough that I didn't feel like it was a waste of money to upgrade. I use my phone a ton (it's a problem) and having the fastest and best device available matters to me.

This is the second time that Google has hit that price point with a Nexus phone. The Nexus 4 actually launched even cheaper last year, with an 8 GB model available for $299 (I got the 16 GB for $349 both this year and last). At that price, I felt like there was very little excuse for anyone who can handle a smartphone not to have one. If you can't afford data service, Toronto and most major cities have sufficient free WiFi that it would still be totally viable to use an outright purchased smartphone on a talk and text plan.

For me, though, this seals it. $350 may be a little steep for some people still, but $200? Most people will end up paying nearly $100 for an outright featurephone anyway. Unless you can't handle the complicated tech, or the phone is for emergencies only and never gets used, there really isn't any reason not to get a smartphone anymore. This isn't the first smartphone for $200 or less and it won't be the last, but maybe this indicates a change in the way manufacturers will treat this segment. Maybe these phones will finally be good.

And if that's the case, then this will change the world. More than the iPhone. More than the cellphone. Maybe more than personal computer. This can put a powerful personal computer in the hands of every person in the world at all times. If the service providers will play ball, this can put internet access in the hands of every person in the world at all times.

As just about anyone with a smartphone if it has changed the way they live, and they'll almost all say yes. Ask them if they could give it up, and they would almost unanimously answer no. Having the ability to access all the information available on the internet at all times will change the way people live.

People sometimes talk about the information revolution as though it has already happened, but I don't think we're close to the peak yet. In fact, I think everything that brought us to this point has just been laying groundwork. The real revolution is about to come, and this is a big step toward it.

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