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June 19, 2009



Morjens Tomi!

This made my day, thanks! Quite glad my original comment in 2007 ( made you add a new C :-)

The Amsterdam service, Layar, is also a good 2009 example (from Netherlands!) of something between and/or covering both Context and Cyber. I now need to think what could be the 11th C...

Keep up your incredible work!
Olivier Guyot aka Cooli (and not Coolio like the rapper ;-)

Tomi Ahonen

Cool Cooli!

Hey, thanks for coming back Olivier! I was thinking that I have to try to dig through 2007 emails to find the alert about your original comment, to try to find your email, to get back to you, to let you know, your thought has finally gone "through to my brain" ha-ha.. and that I'm crediting you here.

Now you are here. Great! I'll update the posting with your real name of course (and mention you in the slides as well from now on)

Thank you and yes, please look for number 11, it certainly isn't ending now with these ten ha-ha.

Thank you

Tomi Ahonen :-)


I'll tell you why more people aren't doing all that stuff on mobile phones. Because it's a tiny fucking screen, and a teeny little keyboard, that's why. When I read that many people do more web stuff via phone than via laptop or desktop, I wonder, "Are you masochists?"

Phones are damned handy when you're out and about and need some info right now. But as an interface of choice? Please. Pain in the ass. I love my iPhone, but I do what I must on it, not what I can. I have a nice 24" iMac screen. Why would I stare at that teeny little phone screen any longer than necessary?

P.S. I tried to send you email requesting your PDF of 10Cs. It bounced, saying your [email protected] domain wasn't recognized.

Tomi Ahonen

Hi Mike

First, my apologies for the email address. You caught the very early version of this blog story when it had that typo. My surname is Ahonen and it should have read tomi at tomiahonen dot com. I am very sorry about that typo, which I corrected about 6 hours ago, but clearly you used it and it was wrong, my fault.

About the tiny screen and small keypad. Very valid concerns. I discuss these at length in the 7th mass media blog posting (pls see link in this story). But a quick summary.

Size is not an absolute detriment, it is a factor yes. We have biggest screen (1st screen) in the cinema. If size was absolute factor, the home TV (second screen) would never have trumped cinema and today PC (3rd screen) not taking over from TV. Size is a factor yes, but not the only matter.

There are many input/output benefits that mobiles have that you can't do on your laptop - witness the new Layar augmented reality browser for example. Can't do that on a laptop.. I don't mean Layar itself will automatically take over from Microsoft Windows Explorer but it is one clear example of early innovation where the screen on the phone can exceed the performance of the screen on the PC. Many more exist and will come.

But yes, masochists, good term. I understand and sympathise. I never said that mobile phones will replace laptops. I have made that point very clear in all of my PC-mobile discussions and have even coined a metaphor for explaining their unique domains, called 30 minute tasks vs 30 second tasks. 30 minute tasks - like now me writing to you on this blog - we prefer to do seated, pre-planned, with a good keyboard, good display. 30 second tasks arrive suddenly and we need often immediate resposes, we do walking/standing, often single-handed using the minimal display and keypad entry - which by the way takes much more intelligence from web/mobile web design than the legacy (dumb) PC internet.

But the last point. You and I have a choice. We both own a high-end smartphone and a nice PC/laptop. We can select which to use. Out of all 1.4 billion internet users, about 600 million are like you and me, with both forms of access. They can choose.

About 300 million have a PC based access method but not a mobile phone (or connection) to access either the "real internet" or the "mobile internet". These users, almost all in the industrialized world, will have no choice, and will access by default using a PC. Many of them will migrate into the mid-camp of having both something like an iPhone and their PC.

Then there are the about 400 million who have no PC but only have a mobile phone for their current internet or mobile internet access. These people have no choice. They have to squint at the small screen and make do with the keypad or perhaps tiny keyboard on their device.

Note Mike, that this group is the one growing. The vast majority of internet access in the Developing World is through phones, usually not smartphones, and they have very modest screens. But their benefit is even greater of now being first-time connected to the information age, than adding broadband speeds to a Westerner who already had dial-up internet.

Out of devices with a browser and access to the branded internet sites like Google, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Facebook, YouTube and eBay, today there are about 1.1 billion personal computers with a browser and internet connection. But in the world, there are over 3.1 billion mobile phones with a browser and network connectivity to do so. Now, most of those people don't bother to, because they don't care, or their prices are too high, or their connection speeds are too slow (or they have already suitable internet access at work, or at home, or via an internet cafe).

As the ability of mainstream phones gets better - similar to an iPhone - and the services keep getting better on the phones - those people will migrate to the mobile internet.

They will no go to a PC based internet. The main growth opportunity for new PC sales now is replacements, and the more some users of Blackberries or iPhones or N97s or Palm Pre's fall in love with their pocket gadget, the more they stop paying for new laptops.

The market for PCs will not disapper, but it will stop growing, while the mobile based internet opportunity will continue to grow very strongly. It was zero users in 1997.

I hope this helped address the main point. Mike, I'm really sorry you didn't get through to my email. I will try to connect with you through this comment you left me and send you the pdf file. Thank you for leaving the comment

Tomi Ahonen :-)


Mike - I'm going to add another C here but this is more of a tongue-in-cheek idea than anything else and the idea has been mostly incorporated into the other Cs.

Ahem, the 11th C is Convenience (yeah, groundbreaking, I know). But in all honesty, think about it. I've sometimes wondered about the strange dichotomy of human nature, a trait that we all share where we work so hard so that we can be...lazy? Of course, most people won't describe some of their leisurely activities as being "lazing around" but it's interesting how much of what peoplecreate tends towards those items that reduce the amount of work, physical or mental, that people have to do.

The screen size is a valid argument but, as pointed out by Tomi, it's not a showstopper. There have been days where I come back from work and feel too exhausted to even bother sitting on my work table to and use the PC. Instead, I lie on my bed, pick up my phone, and start surfing the web (I realize that by describing this habit, I've just made myself look just as slobbish as Garfield when he nailed a TV to the ceiling just so he could watch it lying in his bed). Media such as photos and videos are slightly compromised when consumed on a phone but that's not really that big of an issue. Why? Consider that the predominant way for most people to consume information on the Internet is by reading. And phone screens have certainly advanced enough to a stage where reading is usable, even pleasurable because of the convenience.

There are so many other instances of people putting convenience above all else. I had several coworkers that used to drive to the gym from our offices. What's so strange about this? The gym was across the street. The excuse was always "Hey, I don't want to get sweaty walking back to the office after showering at the gym" but I suspect that it was more to do with my colleagues not wanting to deal exert themselves, especially after a hard workout. Another example I remember is that my mother used to give my family a ring on our cell phone for dinner just so she didn't have to bother yelling or walking up to the second floor of our house.

People will always sacrifice a bit of functionality or experience if it means a return in convenience. Combine this with the fact that we are creatures of habit and you'll have situations where people will even do "30 minute tasks" on devices meant for "30 second tasks", just because the phone is so close to us proximity-wise. I'm often surprised when surfing the web on my phone about how much time elapses. Usually my intention is just to scan the headlines and check some blogs. However, I've had days where I'll easily browse for an hour or two without even realizing it, all without feeling the need to be on my PC to take advantage of the "full Internet" and lamenting the tiny screen.

P.S. In defense of the rather lethargic image I must've projected in this post, it should be noted that I was actually active enough to get up on the PC to write this post. :)


sms text messaging is very important feature of cellular communication, Especially when you cand send sms to landline phones with services like

Tomi Ahonen

Hi MM and Roman

Thank you both for comments.

Good case, MM for Convenience but I'm not quite sold, ha-ha. Yes, we should strive in all services on all platforms to deliver convenience and we also do, to a great degree, deliver better convenience on mobile than on older systems..

Roman - about SMS sent to landline phones, I am afraid that is a very poor opportunity as landlines are dying out and where they exist, they mostly are used only for internet access; and phone owners don't even like to answer the landline phones, knowing their real friends and family would be calling the mobile phones. We've seen SMS services offered to landline phones, and they've all had very poor usage rates and lousy success. Yes, SMS is important, but that service you described, I would not hold my breath that it will be a significant market success. Sorry about that.

Note that I've had a couple of years to think about that, as I worked for the company that first launched commerical SMS text messages, and I was in charge of our first fixed-mobile service project - which delivered the world's first commercially launched fixed-mobile service (now 13 years ago, ha-ha).. So this view comes from a lot of thinking about it, ha-ha.. Of course that does not guarantee that I'm right, but I don't hold much hope for landline SMS services.. Sorry.

Thank you both for writing

Tomi Ahonen :-)

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I was reading something else about this on another blog. Interesting. Your position on it is diametrically contradicted to what I read earlier. I am still contemplating over the opposite points of view, but I'm tipped heavily toward yours. And no matter, that's what is so great about modernized democracy and the marketplace of thoughts on-line.


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Is it reasonable, that of this group, about one in 15 will be so fanatical, as to make music the primary decision for their smartphone? I think thats reasonable. I don't see it as one third for example out of this group haha.

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The mobile phone is now as good as a laptop, how amzing is that! :-)

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The Amsterdam service, Layar, is also a good 2009 example (from Netherlands!) of something between and/or covering both Context and Cyber. I now need to think what could be the 11th C...

The comments to this entry are closed.

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