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Examples of path dependence and where it might lead for smartphones

50 Things That Made The Modern Economy is a BBC World Service podcast.  In short snippets of 9 minutes, Tim Harford, the FT journalist, discusses innovations that have played a crucial role in shaping the world today.

The Haber-Bosch process, for example, responsible for thousands of deaths in the First World War, is fundamental to sustaining human life and population growth. It is the magic that results in fertilisers, without which there would be insufficient food for the world.

I…

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Getting straight to the Punkt

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Getting straight to the Punkt

As I slipped the SIM card into the Punkt MP 01, I was fully aware that my other assorted devices still had wifi connectivity. Only if I left them behind would I be truly bereft of the myriad digital services that punctuate my day with information, entertainment and connections.

Punkt is a Swiss company based in the beautiful region of Lugano, and the MP 01 is a mobile phone capable of… well, not a great deal really: calls and SMS, alarms and reminders. It has less functionality, in other w…

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OnePlus’ impersonal yet over familiar marketing

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OnePlus’ impersonal yet over familiar marketing

The marketing email began “Dear fanboy/girl…” and went down hill from there. OnePlus, of course, will never be short of coverage while it continues to offer above average smartphones for below average price. However, a few months after the debacle of its ‘Ladies first’ competition, which invited women to draw the OnePlus logo on their body so forum members could vote for their favourite, the company remains curiously inept at judging the tone of its marketing messages.

The competition …

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Apple’s new mobile experience

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Apple’s new mobile experience

Authors note, January 2017: the article below is unchanged from its original form, published in this same journal in January 2007.  I remain satisfied by its conclusions, but 10 years on, a few clarifications may be necessary:

  • With hindsight, I am struck by how Apple’s attention to user experience seemed such an extraordinary differentiating factor and became the main focus of my original article.  10 years later the primacy of experience-led smartphone design is taken for granted, even …
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