I am no technologist but as a user of mobile phones I know a lot about them – iPhone is nice but there are so many things that are wrong about these phones. In fact, our current cell phones are so bad that we have a long way to go before we can say that we are done and there is nothing to improve (a few years from now we will be wondering how did we ever used those phone). In fact, I blame the cell phone companies and the carriers that have literally stopped the process of innovation in the industry so that they can push people to hang on to a phone for two years.
That is why when Miguel Helft wrote about GPhone and talked to Arun Sarin, the chief executive of Britain’s Vodafone Group, he said it was not clear what compelling functions Google would offer that are not already available. “What is it that is missing in life that they are going to fulfill?” Mr. Sarin is quoted as saying. “It is not a no-brainer. You can reach Google already through a number of devices. You don’t need a Google phone to do that.”
I would have expected better from the CEO of a cell phone company.
But then I was thinking of the Commissioner of the U.S. Patent Office Charles H. Duell who wanted to shut down the USPTO in 1899 because “Everything that can be invented has been invented” or when IBM wondered loud if there was a need for a personal computer or when Bill Gates suggested that “640K ought to be enough for anybody.”
It is very likely that GPhone may do nothing more than what current phones already do (even though I have higher hopes from Google, a company that has changed the game in so many ways) but the point is that we need to do better with the phones, there is enormous room for innovation, and we have to do this despite the resistance of people like Arun Sarin.