The last 18 months has seen the need for digital connectivity at a personal level accelerate significantly. The advent of mobile phones in the early 80’s provided people with the ability to communicate from wherever they wanted to be. Not that this immediately appealed to everyone.
At the time adoption was slow due to the relative cost of ownership but also because people were not yet used to needing to call anyone while they were out and about. By the 90’s this attitude had shifted significantly and the notion that you had to call ahead and agree on where to meet before leaving the house became a quaint memory. Phones became more lightweight and dropped in price considerably. Parents paid for peace of mind by equipping teenagers with pay as you go mobiles.
The feature to text, rather than talk, was quickly taken up providing users a new channel for communication where information or brevity was required beyond the more formerly conventional verbal human connection.
Data rates on telecoms networks increasingly improved and by the end of the 90’s and early 00’s rates had reached Mbps speeds. The protocols and equipment providing this were rolled out at the same time as 3G. This significant improvement enabled internet browsing and e-mail to become mainstay features on new handsets.
New adjoint business models and applications began to develop around the 3G mobile telecommunications systems. Companies began selling novelty ringtones and by 2003, in arguably a low point of cultural and technological overlap, “Crazy Frog” made it to number one in multiple countries. The impact of e-mail access being around the clock has, positively and negatively, impacted everyone with a mobile phone.