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12/5/2006
10:58 PM
Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
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Economist: 'Phones Are The New Cars'

A piece in this week's Economist draws comparisons between cars and mobile phones, urging you to "look in your driveway" to understand how phones will develop.

A piece in this week's Economist draws comparisons between cars and mobile phones, urging you to "look in your driveway" to understand how phones will develop.It's a great take. We've said that what we now call the smartphone will soon enough be what everyone just considers a phone. The Economist makes a similar point, noting that just as automatic locks and electric windows were once flashy, GPS, mobile television, and massive storage space will soon be standard. But it adds one nice dose of skepticism: whether we'll use all these features. It concludes the "industry's current mania for converged devices is misguided." Just as there's a place for the SUV and the sports car, often in the same garage, there will be work phones and weekend phones.

It leaves one important point of comparison to cars out: those who don't have them. In the U.S. in particular, lack of a car is a distinct economic disadvantage, making it far more difficult to get to where the jobs are. Mobile computing -- that's what we're talking here, not just chit-chat -- will soon be economically vital as well.

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