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This article was published on May 17, 2008


    The future (and past) of mobile phones

    The future (and past) of mobile phones


    Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
    Story by

    Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

    CEO and co-founder, TNW

    Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and pr.co. Boris is very active on Twitter as @Boris and Instagram: @Boris.

    DynatacThere is a large group of people who think that the future of the web is in mobile. Mobile applications, mobile websites, mobile gadgets and mobile technologies. Although I agree that mobile is an interesting market I’m just not that excited by it. Sure, everything will become mobile. But everything will also become bigger, faster and more interactive.

    There are some opportunities there but as far as I can tell this is just a natural extension or next step for the web and not a whole new phenomena that changes everything. In a way the iPhone is a nice illustration for this. It has a ‘normal’ web browser and there is no need to enhance (or dumb down) your website to make it look good on this device. And sure, location based information is cool. But how cool is it exactly? The examples (“find a restaurant near you!!!”) are often dull and not very scalable (how often do YOU actually need to find a restaurant near you?).

    Still, a lot of people are going to make a lot of money with new mobile applications and I’m sure that right now I just miss the imagination to see where this is all leading us to. I wouldn’t be the first:

    ‘In the 1980s, McKinsey & Co forecast a world maket of 900,000 phones by the year 2000. Today, 900,000 handsets are sold every three days’.

    Here is a nice video that illustrates the evolution of mobile phones since 1985. Besides the cute images there are also some great quotes, like the one above, in there:


    Oh, who can tell me (without looking it up in the IMDB!) what the first movie was that featured a mobile phone?