10 years of B2X! Our first big anniversary gives us ample reasons to take a look at the milestones of the mobile industry. Our industry has been changing at a rapid pace since the launch of the iPhone. With the introduction of Android, Google laid the foundation for connecting all electronic devices. The Internet of Things was born, while many well-known brands disappeared and new ones were added. We have summarized all the highlights for you in the following blog post and in this additional infographic.
1. Redefining the Smartphone
“It works like magic”. Steve Jobs used these famous words to introduce the first iPhone model to the public in 2007. While Jobs’ way of presenting the new device at the MacWorld in San Francisco was considered legendary from the very first moment, some industry insiders did initially doubt that Apple would be able to turn the entire mobile phone market upside down. Back then, smartphones were regarded as a niche product. BlackBerry was a mobile email machine for business users, which was rather uninteresting for consumers. And then came the iPhone – a phone for a mass market, without a keyboard, having its own operating system and equipped with small software applications called Apps. This was hardly imaginable.
It was only when Google presented Android a year later, an open operating system for mobile phones that had a similar logic to Apple and its iPhone that the phone manufacturers’ skepticism and smirks turned increasingly into genuine concerns. Would Apple and Google be in a position to set a trend that the established players had thus far missed? The rest is history. Mobile phones, which are not attractive and have limited functions, now called basic or feature phones, no longer have any role to play. Instead, almost everywhere you look, someone has a smartphone using Apple iOS or Google Android.
2. Welcome to the All-Mobile World
The new mobile standard 4G which was introduced in 2009 has contributed significantly to the rapid spread of smartphones. Bandwidths, which until then were only available for fixed networks, were suddenly available for mobiles as well. Users have benefited from high-speed Internet, video streaming and many new multimedia applications via mobile phones. When 4G was introduced, it became quite clear that basic phones with small screens and no multimedia functionality had reached their expiry date and now have no role to play in the future.
While many manufacturers who were sleeping during the smartphone revolution played catch-up, Apple and Google were already one step ahead. With the introduction of the iPad in 2010, Apple linked the strengths of the PC with the advantages of the smartphone. Unaffected by the tablet-mania that followed in the years after, Google launched a new experiment and presented a connected pair of glasses with Google Glass. Even though the first version was a flop, Google inspired many manufacturers to think about mobile networking beyond smartphones and tablets, and soon Google Glass will make a comeback anyway.
3. Emerging Markets on the Rise
Over time smart mobile devices have become better, but also more expensive. This meant that new innovations were reserved for markets with strong purchasing power. However, mobile brands are increasingly expanding into emerging growth markets such as Brazil, India and Russia. India is at the top of the table with growth rates of over 40 percent – it has become the second largest smartphone market in the world. This is also the case for new brands, such as for emerging Chinese manufacturers, which are expanding rapidly in the global market. By 2015, six of the world’s top ten smartphone brands were already coming from China.
4. IoT Goes Mainstream
While the smartphone market is still developing at a steady pace and analysts assume that there will be around 6 billion devices worldwide by 2020, the market for connected IoT devices is multiplying almost by the year. There are already five billion consumer IoT devices in use today and, according to Gartner, there will be 14 billion by 2020. New applications are emerging that are attractive and offer added value. Virtual reality headsets provide a completely new entertainment experience. Smart monitoring and control systems for the home increase the feeling of safety and help to save energy. Wearable devices monitor your own health around the clock. IoT is finally on its way to the mass market, helping people connect all areas of their lives.
Summary: The mobile industry has changed so much within a decade and mobile devices have become a deeply integrated part of everyday life. As a customer care provider, we have backed this development with great enthusiasm and look forward to the innovations of the next ten years. You can also read the highlights from the 10 years of B2X in an interview with CEO Rainer Koppitz – or check out our new video in which B2X founder Karim Barkawi and CEO Rainer Koppitz tell the entire B2X story!
Kimberly Meyer is Head of Global Marketing & Communication at B2X.