Airport lounges and airplanes just before takeoff are a great place to observe people and their electronics. Wanna know what the current hot handset is? Watch a bunch of people hanging out in an airport lounge. Are people texting more than talking? What does that tell you? Listening to music?
For the last couple of years that I’ve been checking out my fellow passengers and their electronics, it’s been a steady progression from feature phone + laptop, to smartphone. The predominant player in the smartphone arena has always been the BlackBerry, at least in Canadian airports.
Hanging out yesterday at the Porter Airlines lounges in Ottawa and Toronto I spotted just one BlackBerry — a new Bold, and only the second Bold I’ve seen “in the wild”. People had smartphones alright. They were talking, sending mail, watching video, listening to music and texting — and they were all wearing those ubiquitous white ear buds, the tell-tale sign of an iPhone user.
Porter is a short hop commuter airline, primarily for business passengers who need to travel between Toronto, Ottawa and a few other eastern Canadian destinations. Among that demographic, it would appear that Apple is winning the day.
Eighteen months ago, all mobile manufacturers were busily cranking out thumb-board style devices in an attempt to emulate and dethrone RIM. Today every manufacturer of phones in the world is focused on delivering a touch screen experience. Yesterday alone we saw Nokia unveil the MusicExpress 5800, and a broadly leaked video of RIM’s BlackBerry Storm hit the web.
Apple redefined “personal computer” when they released the Macintosh GUI in the early 1980’s. Shortly after, GUI’s began to appear on the PC – Windows, GEM, DesqView, and others. From where I sit, it’s clear that iPhone has redefined “phone”, and the other phone manufacturers are now rushing to deliver their own copycat products.