"One day. 2 or 3 billion people will have cell phones, antl they are all not jmng tn have PCs," says Je!1 Hawkins, inventor of Ihe Palm Pilot and chief technology officer for PalmOne. "The mobile phone will become their digital life." Hawkins predicts, ftfler a stow start, mobile phones have become more ubiowtcus—mere are 1,5 billion in the world today—and smarter Today's most soph islica ted phones already tiavE the processing power of a nud-1990s PC vrtiiti consuming 100 times less electricity. The phones are used to send e-mail, browse the Web. take pictures, and play video games. Hawkins predicts that within the next few decades all phones will he mobile phones, capable oi receiving voice and Internet signals at broadband speeds, and mat moblle-phons bills will shrink to a few dollars a month as phone companies pay off Iheir investment in new networks. Nevj Sfliad phones in the works inCludE Palm's pocket-Siie TreaGOO, with a tiay keyboard, a built-in digital camera, and slots lor added memojy; and Motorola's MP*, which features a dugl-hinge" design. The handset opens in one direction and appears (ft be a regular phone, but It also Hips open on another axis lo look like an e-mail device, with (he expanded phone keypad serving as a small, conven-m (ional qwerty keypad.51
The economy's growth rate is affected by how many major new technologies are discovered. Unfortunately, technological discoveries do not tirise evenly through Lime—the r;i,il-road industry crcaied a hit of investment, and then investment petered out until the auto industry emerged. Later, radio created a lot of investment., which then pelcred out until television appeared, In the time between major innovations, an economy can stagnate, in the meantime; minor innovations fill the gap: frceze-dricd coffee, combination shampoo and conditioner, aniiperspiiants and deodorants, and the like. They involve less risk, but they.' also divert research effort away from major breakthroughs.
New technology also creates major long-run consequences that are not always foreseeable. The contraceptive pill, for example, led to smaller families, more working wives, and linger discretionary incomes—resulting in higher expenditures on vacation travel, durable goods, Eind luxury items,
The marketer should monitor the following trends in technology: tin- pace of change, die opportunities for innovation, varying H&ll hurl gets, and increased regulation.
Many of today's common products were not available ■lo years ago. John f;. Kennedy did not know personal computers, digital wrlslwatches, video recorders. Tllx machines, personal digital assistants, or the Internet: nor has the pace of techno logical change slowed down. The Human Genome project promises to usher in the biological Century as biotech workers create new medical cures, tiew foods, and new materials. Electronic researchers are building smarter chips to make nur cars, homes, and offices more responsive to Changing conditions. The blending of personal computers, scanners, fax and copy machines, wireless phones, the Internet, and e-mail lias made it possible for people to rdecottftttute—that is, work al home or on the road instead of traveling to an office. This trend may reduce auto pollution, bring the family doser together, and Create more h oui e-ceiu e red sh o pp I ng a il d en tert ai n m en t.
An increasing number uf ideas ¡ire being worked on, and [he lime between the fLppear-anccfli nfiw ideas and jiheir successful Implementation is all but disappearing. Sols the lime between introduction and peak production. Ninety percent of all tin: scieniists Who ever lived are alive today, and technology feeds upon itself.
UNLIMITED OPPORTUNITIES FOR INNOVATION Scientists today are working on a star-Ming range of new technologies that will revolutionize products and production processes. Some nf the most exciting work is being done in biotechnology, com ¡inters, microelectronics, telecommunications, robotics, and designer materials. Researchers arc working on AIDS cures. happiness pills, painkillers, totally safe contraceptives, and n on rattening foods. They are designing robots for firelighting, underwater exploration, and home nursing, lit addition, scientists also Work on fantasy products, such as small flying cars, three-dimensional television, and space colonies. The challenge in each case is in develop affordable versions uf these products.
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