iPhone & iPad Imitators: It’s time to think beyond Mobile

Imitating is not good enough. You are short selling yourself. How do you go from constantly lagging behind to leaping ahead?

Foresee the future of computing and pull it forward.

What Apple has done is they looked at their touchscreen technology while creating their first few prototypes of tablets and realized that they had an opportunity to revolutionize the smartphone industry. They launched iPhone first and years later, they followed up with the original concept, iPad. With its success, you see too many imitators mimicking all the user interface metaphor and functionalities thinking that we can do everything the same, only cheaper. Is that good enough? How do you stand out in the sea of imitators? What about your brand? Are you building a consumer brand that will engage the users in a way that is unique and special? In a way that it will establish a foundation for business growth for the next few or several years?

iPhone and iPad have really unleashed the first level of what we can do with mobile computing. However, if you look forward next 3~5 years, I still see a lot of opportunities for other technology companies in the world. If you look beyond the mobile computing and expand it to ubiquitous computing, we realize that there are a lot of things that inexpensive communication and computing technologies can bring.

I think companies like Samsung, LG, and Hyundai should think about creating a new open OS platform. This OS platform will be open to both iOS and Android. There are already lots of sensors and computer chips in today’s electronic devices; You should expose the sensor data and control functions via this new OS platform.

I believe LG already has a smart refrigerator. You can deploy this new OS and expose temperature data and control functions so that third-party software developers can create innovative apps that can enhance the user experience. Maybe embed cameras inside the fridge. Users will be able to check whether they still have milk in the fridge from their mobile phone or tablet.

Hyundai can deploy this new OS to cars in a way that it will sync data with any iOS devices or Android devices. Think about intuitive user interaction design between mobile phone and the car. Today, when you need to go to a new place, you need to look up the address from the mobile phone and hand-type it into the GPS navigator in the car. What if there was a natural gesture you can use to ‘drop’ the address into the GPS? Even the current experience of listening to music is very cumbersome and an integrated solution can greatly enhance that experience. (Plugging and unplugging iPhone into the car isn’t what I call seamless integration.) If you have an SUV with entertainment package and are planning on a road trip, you could pre-download movies kids can watch. Cars are usually parked overnight in the garage where home Wifi network is available. These movies can be downloaded during such idle time.

“It is time to take every single product and brainstorm on what inexpensive communication and computing technologies can bring to greatly enhance people’s lives.”

Apple do not create cars, TVs, refrigerators, ACs, washers & dryers, latte machines, and bathroom weather clocks. Companies that do have an opportunity to revolutionize the consumer world by deploying the new open platform, which will accelerate the realization of ubiquitous computing. While doing this, remember to market ‘Innovation’ to build a world class brand. (This may let you improve the profit margin at the same time!)

Have fun with your Innovation –

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