Time Magazine’s Mobile Phone Issue Paints An Interesting Picture on Global Patterns


Cover of Time Magazine’s “The Wireless Issue: 10 Ways Your Phone is Changing the World”

It’s often, every now and then something positive comes to light about the power of technology can have an impact on society. Enter Time Magazine, who has recently came out their issue discussing about how ten ways your mobile/cell/smart phone is changing the world.

In the magazine, Time noted ten areas in which they are occurring. They include:

– Democracy & Politics

– Giving & Charity

– Money & Spending

– Secrets & Security

– Attitudes

– Rural communication

– Seeing

– Playing

– Education & Learning

– Health

Personally, I give a big thumbs up for Time Magazine in taking the time, their due diligence to make this a complete issue. Mobile phones are one of the defining technologies of the 21st century and deserve the proper treatment in a traditional media outlet like Time.

However, while each section is unique, I found the section on attitudes towards smartphones to be very interesting.

BlackBerry and Iphone. Smart Phones are gaining in popularity across the world. Photo Source Wired- http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/02/blackberrys-most-efficient-smartphone-claims-rim-ceo/

Based on the Time Mobility Poll, assisted by Qualcomm, 4,700 online respondents and 300 over the phone took the survey. Here were some of the most interesting results:

The more developed nations in the survey (United States, Great Britain, United Kingdom), where the more likely to find being constantly connected to technology a burden (15% for South Korea, 13% for the United States, and 12% for Great Britain). The emerging market countries of China, (8%), India (4%) and Brazil (4%) found it to be the least burden.

The US, China, and South Korea, found were least likely wanting to have the latest technology, while China, India, and Brazil were more likely wanting to have the latest gadget more.

Seventy-nine percent of Chinese found they were better understanding of news events, thirty points above the international average.

Sixty-two percent of Brazilians found they stay in closer contact with friends, nine points ahead of the international curve.

Participants in the developing countries were more likely to feel mobile phones improved the public education system.

Seventy eight percent of Chinese polled in the survey found they were likely to check the weather and 84% would look for information pertaining to news events.

India, Brazil, and China were more likely to use their smart phones to surf the internet, play mobile games, or use their built-in camera.

Respondents in the more developed countries were less likely to find mobile phones as away to achieve a better balance between work and family, while those in the emerging market countries found higher work family balance thanks to cell phones.

I found these numbers interesting, yet not really shocking. I personally do not find them surprising considering the higher impact of leapfrogging technologies have on developing countries in raising their standard of living. The globalization of technology, thanks to the Internet in the mid 1990’s to early 2000’s laid the ground work for the mobile/smart phone revolution.

I hope Time makes this either a yearly or bi-yearly event. It would be very interesting to see what types of trends will emerge within the next few years for smart phones.

Do you think Time magazine’s checkup on mobile phones is an accurate picture of the changes helping out developing countries in modernizing their economies?

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