I am a mobile phone. I'm not a luxurious iPhone or a fast-reacting Blackberry or certainly not one of those awesome Nokia N-series devices. I'm just a normal mid-range cameraphone, what is called a featurephone. But my owner loves me.
I start in the morning with the alarm. My owner is slow to wake up and will hit the snooze button, usually twice. So we get three contacts before he is even really "awake". He touches me 3 times while still mostly in a sleep state. He must love me.
But once he is focused enough to recognize its time to get up, the next thing he'll always do, is to see if there are messages and calls. And during the night there often are. So the day will then start by looking at the phone calls log and the inbound messages. That gives him 1 more contact with me.
My master is not a big caller, places only 3 calls per day, and not long calls at that, usually. It is not unusual for a call to ring at the other end not to go through, so on average once per day, one of the three calls won't get through, and my master will call again later. So the 3 completed calls produce four calling attempts. That is four times he touches me.
As there are calls that he places, there also are calls that arrive. There are 3 calls that he takes, but in addition to that, there is on average one call he sees coming, that he doesn't take. Sometimes this is due to circumstances, being in a situation that a call can't be taken. At other times its a deliberate choice, not to take a call because he doesn't want to talk to that given person at that time, or perhaps, doesn't recognize the calling number and won't take the unfamilar call. So my master will handle me 4 more times on inbound calls.
When he is on the phone, there is the occasional call that gets disconnected either by accident, the network at either end is congested or one of the people moves out of radio coverage etc., and sometimes the call is interrupted by either party briefly to do something else, and is resumed momentarily. That causes on average one resume call attempt per day, continuing the call that was already ongoing. In all, my master will fondle me 9 times per day on the phone calls he is on.
But I am connected even when he is not. There will be typically one other call that arrives to the phone, that he didn't see or hear, and the call is waiting on the phone. He'll notice it later in the day. But that means there are voicemail calls as well. And for voicemail, I get to deliver an SMS text message to him, that there is a call. When he notices that, he'll then decide, whether to call the voicemail now or later. And calling the voicemail he'll then listen to messages - there may be more than one - and react to them. But lets say this is one activity, one message arrived, it is handled in one action, and any resulting outbound call was already counted for in the above.
But my master is more into SMS text messaging than voice calls. He sends on average 8 messages per day, which is about twice the worldwide average, my fellow mobile phones tell me. Some are envious of me that I have such a heavily SMS addicted user, but I know also many phone friends who have owners who send 20 or 50 messages per day, so my master is not at the extreme level. But as he sends out 8 messages per day, it gives us a lot of interaction and I like that; I like to feel his fingers on me.
Of his messages, to create 8 messages he sends, two on average are interrupted for any reason. So he starts a message, is interrupted for example by what is on TV, or when he has to pay at the grocery store, or wherever he happens to be when authoring the message, then he just interrupts the message, and returns to it a little bit later. So it takes 10 actions to create 8 messages to send. But he also will occasionally start a message that he didn't send, so there is on average one message per day, that he started, but didn't send. So to send messages, my master will handle me 11 times.
I of course then return messages to him from his friends and contacts. And at his level of usage, as he sends out 8 messages, he also receives on average 8 messages per day. But after he sends some of them, he might expect an urgent reply, and his counterpart isn't yet able to respond. So in addition to reading the 8 messages that arrived, my master will on a typical day two times look at the phone soon after sending a message, whether an answer has arrived already. I would hope he'd just trust me to beep when the messages arrive, I have never failed him, but he is neurotic about these things sometimes, so yes, he will look at my screen two more times per day just to see if the expected message had arrived.
There is that issue also of re-reading a message. At least once every day, he will feel the need to dig up an older message, to see what some given detail was, etc. So on the inbound messages, he touches me 11 times every day.
My master is not big into MMS picture messaging and doen't use email on the phone. Some of my friends have masters who use those features a lot. But my master is into his music and his pictures.
On the music, he'll use the music player on average three times per day. Always when he leaves the home and on his journey back home, but also one further time on average, during the day. That involves several interactions. Each music session requires both the starting of music, and turning the music player off. So each of the three sessions requires at least two interactions.
But he will also walk from quiet places like his home to loud locations like the sidewalks of the city street So he will adjust the volume on his music at least three times per day. He will use the music player on random shuffle mode, but there will be songs that he doesn't feel like listening to, at a given moment, so he'll also shuffle the music typically once per session to skip a song. So his music habit gives us interplay 12 times per day.
And he uses the Bluetooth headset, so we put that on and off several times per day. Each time he puts the Bluetooth headset on, he needs to connect it to me, and when he's done using it, he needs to disconnect the headset. So this gives him another 6 interactions with me during the day.
Now, my master is not particularly neurotic about time, but does use the clock feature, of course. I don't know of any of my friends whose masters don't use the clock of the phone at least part of the time. My master will only find the need to glance at me for time during the day, not counting the wake-up alarm, 6 times per day. But he does look at me that many times, and often this means he pulls me out of his pocket, or grabs me on the table to see the time better, and often he has to activate the screen from sleep mode to see the time. But whether he touches me, or only looks at me, it is 6 more interactions we have every day when he checks the time from my display.
He does use the reminder alarm during the day, typically once per day. That adds one more contact when he sets the reminder, and the other when I beep and he turns the reminder off. This gives us 2 more contacts.
Then there is of course the profile. My master uses three profiles, the normal mode, the silent mode, and the loud mode for when he's outside. But he shuffles between silent mode and normal mode many times per day, as my master goes to many meetings and needs me to be quiet at those times. He will make 10 changes to the profile setting on a typical day.
I mentioned my master is into the camera feature too. He'll typically take one picture that he keeps, per day. But that means he typically takes two pictures, and discards one that he was not happy with. He can be quite funny about that, sometimes taking many pictures to get just the one he wants. I am not very fast in capturing those pictures for him, so often he is a bit frustrated that the picture he thought he took, and the image I was able to capture, are somewhat different. But then he does have the ability to take another snapshot, which invariably he will do.
So on average he takes two pictures per day, and keeps one. But he also likes to show his pictures to his friends, so he'll often search me for a picture and show his friends by sharing me with them, momentarily. That is always a strange sensation. He is so possessive of me, that it is unusual for him to share me, and when he does, it is for very brief moments only, to show pictures.
And this is quite funny about my master, he often will prepare for an upcoming meeting, by looking for a given picture while on the way to the meeting, so its ready to show his friend. And when he shows pictures to friends, sometimes they will want the picture too, so he'll bluetooth the picture over. And the friends will then often have a picture that my master wants, and he'll take delivery of that picture by bluetooth. So on a typical day, he'll interact with me 5 times per day relating to pictures.
I have the calendar for him too. He isn't using that much, but he'll look at it twice per day to see what is coming up, and make one change to the upcoming appointments per day. So he interacts with me 3 times with the calendar.
I have a web browser and he could access the internet (or what we call technically, WAP, its not really the internet but he's not a geek and can't tell the difference anyway) but he doesn't like the slow speeds and high costs and prefers to use his laptop for web surfing. I have friends whose owners use Google on their phones many times per day, but my master is not like that.
He does love the 2D Barcode reader, and smiles broadly when he gets to use that. But in my country we don't have many of those in use yet, so he doesn't use it daily. I hear from my Japanese phone friends, that in Japan this feature is used many times per day. I also heard from my phone friends from South Korea that their owners will use the phones to make payments. Wow, I've never been used that way. But my owner is perhaps a bit old-fashioned and he doesn't even use a credit card much. He likes cash. But that could give me much more interaction.
And I don't have the fancy mapping and GPS systems to give him those kinds of services. But I do have a few games, and he'll quite often play a game when he is waiting for something. He'll play the games two times per day. When he plays, its constant contact, and I love it. That doesn't last long, however, his car racing game that he likes will only run about 5 minutes to complete the circuit. He does, often find that a game is interrupted, such as when his train arrives at the station. He'll pause the game, step off the train, complete the game, and then get on with his day. He's that way with his gaming. Once he's started a race, he has to finish it too. So he gets typically 3 contact with me related to his games.
He does use me a lot so my battery runs down quite a bit every day. But he's a good master and he recharges me every day too, when he gets back home. So it gives us three contacs. Why three? He wants me back so much, that after he's plugged me in, he'll almost as a rule, come in too early to see if the charge is full, and find it is not, and then return later to unplug me when I'm again fully charged. But that gives us 3 more contacts.
Then it comes to the end of the evening, and its time to go to bed. He'll often send messages from bed, but they were counted in the above. But his last action with me is when he sets the alarm for tomorrow. So that gives me one more contact during the day.
My master will fondle me 86 times during a typical day. I feel so much love. He will literally touch me once ever 11 minutes of every waking hour of the day. I am a happy mobile phone. I only worry, that its been over a year since he got me, he is probably going to get a new phone soon and then he'll probably toss me into that drawer of old phones and chargers, and forget all about me. Its a short love affair that I can have with my master. There will be a new phone in his life soon.
The mobile phone is the most widely spread technology on the planet. There are 4 billion mobile phone subscriptions meaning more than two times more phones than TV sets and more than 3 times more phones than personal computers. The mobile phone is the first thing we see when we wake up, and its the last thing we look at before we fall asleep. Our lives are changing much more dramatically due to the phone, than due to the laptop or desktop PC, or the iPod or Playstation Portable.
If you'd like to understand mobile as an industry and the role of the mobile phone in our lives, I have authored a short 2 page summary of the industry that I am happy to send to you for free. It is what I call a "Thought Piece" on the size of the mobile telecoms industry. Send me an email to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com to receive the Thought Piece on Mobile in 2009
For those who are professionally interested in this industry, I have also released an annual Almanac of 171 pages as an eBook with all the major numbers and statistics for the industry. It costs only 9.99 Euros and there are sample pages of it at this link [Tomi Ahonen Almanac 2009: Mobile Industry Review, ordering and infromation page]