Is That a Cell Phone in Your Pocket?

Coming out of the long holiday weekend I found my favorite unintentionally comical news story of the year so far in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Headlined "The wireless home invasion," the article cited a study jointly sponsored by digital marketing firm Isobar Communications and Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) that found newly pervasive WiFi connections will "encourage us to interact more intimately with wireless devices." The study followed a small set of families in Britain, France, Germany, China, and the U.S. who were outfitted with a wireless router with unlimited connectivity, two laptops, and "a range of sophisticated mobile devices."

Conclusion: "Interactive mobile devices such as wireless laptops and mobile phones deliver a more heightened emotional connection than static appliances such as television sets."

No word on whether champagne, roses, and Mantovani CDs were included in the study.

"It's now something I'll relax with in bed at the end of the day," said a study participant from Shanghai, referring not to Mao's Little Red Book but to her laptop.

Whew! Is it just me, or is it getting hot in here?

In another gem, which ran on the Cox News Service wire over the weekend, tech reporter Jennifer Brett reported from Atlanta's chi-chi Center of Wireless store that "the hip cell phone crowd has come to demand some bling with their ring." Pointing readers to the Website of Malibu designer Jennifer Serig, who charges up to $1,200 to accessorize the cell phones of the red-carpet crowd with Swarovski crystals, Brett proves that, more than ever, mobiles are more fashion statement than communications tool. "It's more like jewelry than a phone," Center of Wireless co-owner Jacob Chackonal tells Brett.

For IT professionals, there's a message worth hearing in the marketing of mobile devices as items of fashion and, uh... "heightened emotional connections"? As the range of choice for mobile devices with powerful enterprise applications such as access to corporate email broadens, employees will be looking at their choice of devices, whether company-supplied or not, through a far more personal lens than they view, say, desk phones or even laptops.

That was also one of the subtexts of the smartphone roundup we ran on Unstrung last Friday: Personal preference, taste, and usage patterns will weigh far heavier in selecting a smartphone or other mobile device than in other business-tool choices. IT managers who resist that tendency will be fighting human nature. (See New Q Review.)

Now if you'll excuse me, I’m going to slip into something more comfortable, mix a cosmopolitan, and lie down with my new Q for a while.

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

i_johnston 12/5/2012 | 3:49:43 AM
re: Is That a Cell Phone in Your Pocket? It's been around for a long time. See www.vertu.com for a range of 1 of a kind and limited edition phones. Vertu, by the way, is a Nokia company . . .
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