Mobile : Man of Many Devices

Mobile technology is constantly changing, making it difficult to keep up with new developments and products. As Samsung's head of mobile phone and tablet product planning, I'm here to help you make sense of it all. This column will help broaden your mobile knowledge and answer some of your frequently asked questions.

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re (a) a fan of mobile technology and all it has to offer; (b) a skeptic of mobile technology and all it has to offer; (c) just want to learn how to turn the darn thing on; or (d) somewhere in-between. If you chose (d), you're not alone.

Let Me Be Your Guide

Despite my—let’s just say numerous—years of experience in working on the front lines of mobile technology, I still have questions of my own from time to time. Trying to keep up with the swift pace of mobile innovation can be a bit exhausting, even for those of us who work in the industry. Just when you think you have a handle on all of the developments, another new use case or technology springs from the well, and shakes everything up again. The constant changes can be a little frustrating at times, but there’s never been a more exhilarating time for mobile technology, especially when you consider how far we’ve come in such a relatively short span of time.

My goal of writing this regular column is to help you sort through the trends, fads, hype and hyperbole to help you focus on the devices, applications, operating systems and services that best fit your needs. With each post, I hope to answer many of the common questions that you may have, as well as review some of the best and brightest innovations on the market.

Mobile Devices Are Not a Fad

Just take a look around the marketplace and it’s obvious that the big push in the mobile industry right now is centered on smartphones and tablets. As devices become more capable, how we use them continues to evolve. The technology used to support mobility is becoming more advanced, turning smartphones and tablets into full-blown hubs of the digital world.

From virtually anywhere, you can check email, upload photos, purchase movies, listen to music, conduct video conferencing—you name it. Consumers are demanding greater speed and efficiency and thankfully, tech companies are meeting this demand with products that are truly ahead of the curve. Much of this innovation is due largely to the flexibility and functionality of Google’s Android™ operating system, which has leveled the playing field for development and innovation. If you’re hesitant to jump into the smartphone or tablet marketplace, don’t be. There’s never been a better time to get into the game.

Timeout—Let's Define Android

Now just to make sure we’re all on the same page, let’s clearly define what Android is—or more importantly, what it is not. It’s not a phone or a tablet or a set of apps. Android is an operating system developed by Google that’s designed to work on a variety of mobile devices from a host of different companies. Thanks largely to its wide appeal and open source platform, the Android market is growing exponentially every day. In fact, according to Google, they activate an estimated 300,000 Android devices a day. If you’re worried that Android will become obsolete, don’t be. There is safety in those numbers.

The main reason for the success of Android is that it’s an open source platform, which means in turn that all of the brightest minds in the industry are free to develop new apps and programming. More access equals more competition, which in turn, leads to superior technology for the end user. Everybody wins.

Apps Are Where It’s At

So what’s the biggest trend in smartphone and tablet technology today? No matter where you look right now, everyone’s talking, developing, playing or simply using an “app.” Now just to be clear, “apps” are short for “applications,” which are the different features you can use on a smartphone or tablet. Ranging from practical functions—such as address books, weather reports and news sources—to playful sources—including video games, social networking sites and entertainment channels,—apps are one of the most defining characteristics of the digital landscape today.

Open Source Platforms—Wide Open Possibilities

Downloading apps can range in price, from free to about ten dollars each. Depending on the operating system of your phone or tablet, only certain apps may work on any given device. For example, some of Samsung’s smartphones and tablets run on Google’s Android operating system, which is an open source platform. This means virtually anyone can develop apps to run on a Samsung smartphone or tablet, giving consumers more freedom and greater selection to customize their device to fit their work and personal needs.

The Future Looks Very Bright

As I mentioned before, this is going to be a regular column on this site, so be sure to check back every few weeks for additional updates on the mobile device market, reviews of the latest apps and devices, and general industry trends. Consider this a warm-up before we dive headfirst into the specifics of the many features of smartphone and tablet devices, and the latest news on Android apps. Until then, I encourage you to keep exploring the wonderful world of mobile technology.

The views and opinions expressed herein are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of Samsung Telecommunications America, Samsung Electronics America Inc., or any of its parents/affiliates as well as any other individual employee thereof.

Nicholas DiCarlo is VP of product planning for the wireless terminals division of Samsung Telecommunications America and is passionate about making mobile devices for real people, non-techie people and super techie people, all the same.

Questions? Comments? Two-cents? Email Nicholas at manofmanydevices@sta.samsung.com and he’ll get back to you with a reply—maybe even feature it in his next column—all from his Samsung Galaxy Tab, of course.

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