The unexpected stop. Out of nowhere, without the slightest hint. It happened again yesterday: Leaving the tram with a few dozen other people, all heading in the same direction, more or less all at the same speed, when suddenly you have to dodge the person in front of you who has become a frozen statue. Poof! Like magic, out of the blue he or she stops all motion and becomes fixated in a head-tilted-down-and-hands-before-chest-posture…

Only when you pass the person you see the smartphone, e-reader, Gameboy (Yes, I am of that generation) or the likes in their hands and you understand: Another person living in a digital bubble, with absolutely no awareness of his or her surroundings.

As it appears, there are more and more incidents that are far worse than getting bumped into. But what bothers me more is that this kind of blind walking is yet another example that we have less and less moments that we are actually not getting our social medial and digital kicks. No matter whether people are driving, on a bicycle (Yes, I live in Holland), walking, skateboarding or even running, you see more of them doing all this while handling a smartphone. Yes, the technology supports it and the broadband mobile services cheer for its growing number of users, but to what extend?

This train of thoughts let to me thinking about what specs my ideal phone should have:

  • very basic but clear and clean screen
  • very detailed address book, with the essential hooks from Linkedin (C.V.) for instance
  • Focus on call functionality
  • Extra focus on hot-spot functionality

As I carry a MacBook Air when traveling, I would be happy if my phone is just for calling, with a strong informational focus on my contacts, while it can act as a hot-spot for all email, Skype™ and social medial activity. The fact that I would not be able to do that on my phone is the kind of peace of mind I am aiming at again: dedicated time for one task at a time, not multitasking on the smallest device. Does this device exist yet? Think not. Would there be a market? Think so. But the question is whether that market would be big enough. I think right now already, there is a growing number of people that is getting e-tired, yet the digital development is not focusing on this.

Currently my solution is that I brought back the apps on my iPhone to the bare necessary, have disabled push for email and social media in order to control the moment I get certain information and updates, have extra information in my address book as a result from the link cobook makes with facebook and Linkedin and I use the hot-spot functionality when no free wi-fi is available for my MBA…

I think we are not far from the moment that you can configure a mobile device from components of your own choice. Till that moment, we’ll have to improvise and simply put: be on alert when walking behind somebody!

update: In the same line: Man falls on train track while talking on cellphone.

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