Mobile Phones History Essay Questions


The mobile phone industry is on of the fastest growing industries worldwide and has already recovered from recession (Berridge, 2010). It seems that the expression that “everyone has a mobile phone” is not far from reality. From a business perspective the question has to be asked how companies can benefit from mobile commerce linked to the ubiquity of mobile phones. Therefore the essay will start with a more general discussion about how mobile phones found their way into the daily lives of people and how it has become a necessity rather than a luxury. Moreover the essay will look into the massive mobile industry in order to illustrate the dominance of the mobile phone in terms of technology adaption and the general use of mobile phones. The next part will explore how the technological abilities of today's mobile phones and how business can use these features for their advantage to give the reader an idea of what is possible with such innovative devices.

With all that in mind the essay will than have a closer look at mobile commerce and the key aspects that drive mobile commerce: ubiquity, convenience, personalization, localisation and instant connectivity (Turban & Volonino, 2010). Examples will highlight the possibilities and opportunities mobile phones can offer for business. The essay will conclude with a more critical discussion on Mobile Commerce an the challenges that have to be overcome in order to fully benefit from the opportunities mobile commerce can offer.

The Ubiquity of Mobile Phones in People's Live

Mobiles phones have had a huge impact on people's live over the last few years. They developed from luxury devices that where more or less “mobile” to the one thing most important to many people. They seem to give people sort of personal freedom in letting them do “what” they want “whenever” and “wherever” they want to. This new found ubiquity has basically changed people's perception of space and time and the possibilities seem endless. This new found individual power is also reflected in the immense variety mobile phones appear in the market. They are part of each person's personality and act as an extension of their character.

It looks like the mobile phone is the one device that is continuously replacing other devices as it becomes more and more functional. Some examples are wristwatches, diaries, alarm clocks, reminders, calculators, music players, digital cameras, GPS' and even laptops by enabling the user access to the internet. Using just one device for so many tasks safes the user a lot of time and extends the reach of that person enormously. Today, mobile phones can be used 24 hours, 7 days a week for a range of reasons. These might reasons of safety, networking, pure entertainment, socializing, business and much more. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a good example of how the mobile phone has become part of our personality as it is able to address all these needs up and down Maslow's pyramid around the clock (Saxtoft, 2008). From a business perspective there are huge opportunities to connect with customers on an individual level in order to better understand and address their needs and adjust their actions accordingly.

The Mobile Phone Industry in Numbers

The number of mobile phones worldwide has reached 4.6 billion and is expected to increase to five billion this year (CBSNEWS, 2010). Furthermore, the number of mobile broadband subscriptions worldwide is expected to exceed one billion this year. There were around 600 million such subscriptions at the end of 2009 according to CBSNEWS (2010). This data shows how fast the adoption of mobile phones grows around the globe. Especially in developed countries, the use of mobile phones is extremely high, thus the ubiquity of mobile phones is real and not just a simple saying. And with more people having mobile phones, businesses have to realise the benefits in adopting mobile phones in their business strategy.

Whereas personal computers are replaced all 3.5 years, mobile phones on the other hand have a replacement life cycle of only 21 months (Kizna, 2010). In developed countries where two mobile phones per person are not an exception that results in an actual replacement rate of 11.5 months. That in turn leads to a rapidly adoption of new technology in the mobile phone market. A very good example of this fast technology adaption is the use of camera phones. Mobile phones with an inbuilt camera were introduced only 10 years ago in 2000 and it is expected that 1.3 billion camera phones will be sold in 2012 (InfoTrends, 2008).

Text messaging is another phenomenon of the mobile phone industry. According to SMS Feedback Online (2010) text messaging is by far the most commonly used mobile phone service around the globe, with “72% of all mobile phone users worldwide or 1.9 Billion out of 2.7 billion phone subscribers at end of 2006 being active users of the Short Message Service”. That number reprents a huge target market for businesses wanting to communicate with potential consumers via text messaging in more personalised way.

Mobile Phones and Technology

Since the mainstream introduction of mobile phones, mobile phones are innovative wireless communication technologies (PRLog, 2010). Although mobile phones have still remained the primarily communication devices they did undergo improvements and advancements constantly. New features and functions are fitted at an immense pace and today, a mobile phone is much more than “just” voice communication with another person. It has become a multifunctional device that can be used for much than just talking to someone.

As mentioned earlier a lot of mobile phones are already equipped with a camera and the diffusion of camera phones happens very quickly (InfoTrends, 2008). These camera phones in combination with internet access have the potential to be used as a bar code scanners which in turn offers great benefits for business and consumer. It enables the product manufacturers and packaging companies to link information of the product to a bar code. This can highly improve a consumers shopping experience. It can enable the shopper to compare the price of the product online with the help of an application that is running on the mobile phone like shopsavvy for example (Mobile Commerce Daily, 2009). If the product is found cheaper elsewhere it can be ordered and paid online if shopsavvy is linked to a registered Paypal account.

Moreover, the mobile phone can be used to provide additional information of the product via the bar code scanner on the mobile phone like nutritional information or product ratings (Chaudhary, 2010). It is even possible to offer linked information like recipe ideas, complementary products, product demo videos, coupon offers etc. According to Chaudhary (2010) “barcodes can be found on virtually any package around the world”, meaning that the barcode technology enables companies to easily control and deliver marketing content targeted at consumers.

Furthermore, the manufacturers of mobile phones have already developed RFID chips for handsets that can transform cell phones into electronic wallets. That enables users to exchange electronic money via the mobile phone in a secure way since mobile phones contain microprocessors, thus they can offer additional layers of security (Moore, 2008). The idea is to bring the mobile phone within close range of a NFC (near-field communication) reader and it acts just like the credit card or debit card people use at the moment. A mobile-payment-enabled phone is linked to a bank or credit-card institution just like it is linked to a phone-service provider (Layton, n.d.).

Mobile phones are quickly becoming a melting pot where various technologies meet and fuse and create applications that are valuable for consumers and businesses worldwide. The mobile phone of the future will be a tool that allows people to communicate, connect, transact and innovate. As usage irresistibly raises, mobile phones can revolutionise the exchange of digital information about things in the “real” world.

Drivers of Mobile Commerce

The introduction of the internet and e-commerce in the 1990s revolutionised the way businesses communicate with consumers and the general approach towards business strategy. M-commerce allows e-commerce businesses to develop past the usual limitations of the fixed-line personal computer, increasing the overall market for e-commerce. M-commerce has unique characteristics that provide convenient and personalised access to goods and services anytime and anywhere (ubiquity) and therefore offers interaction with customers on a wider scale (Turban & Volonino, 2010). M-commerce is not a substitute for the traditional e-commerce but it should be rather seen as a new and a much more powerful way to communicate with customers. It offers benefits compared to e-commerce in terms of five key characteristics: ubiquity, convenience, personalisation and localization and instant connectivity (Turban & Volonino, 2010).


A smart phone offer users the ability to benefit from services, receive information and perform transactions independent of his or her location on a real-time basis (Turban & Volonino, 2010). Therefore, advantages presented from this ubiquity of information and constant access to commerce will be extremely essential to businesses where the time factor is very important for example, auction platforms, betting companies or stock market information. Companies could provide alert notices and realise the benefits of real-time information for their customers.


Consumers want convenience, which is big driver for mobile commerce. People do not want to be affected by place or time to pursue their e-commerce activities. Time is of enormous value in today's fast-paced environment and if mobile commerce can somehow speed up a person's day or save some time for him or her it will increase loyalty on their side. They could take care of online transactions by means of their internet-enabled mobile phone if this service is offered by their bank. Users can also go online shopping while stuck in a traffic jam for example. Taking this idea a step further, mobile commerce could help businesses to reach customers that were until now hard to get in touch with and thus increase their customer-base.


Personalisation has always been one of the major goals of any marketing strategy in order to advertise tailor-made information for individual customers (Turban & Volonino, 2010). Since mobile phones are somehow an extension of a persons' personality it makes them the perfect device to achieve this goal. A fashion store for example, would be able to target all females within a specific age-group (15-25) who are within walking distance (500m) of that store. They could send them the latest bargains of their store to get them inside the shop and therefore improve the firm's performance.

The limitations of a mobile phone with regards to online browsing makes it also very important that the information that is sent to the customer is as individual and relevant as possible. The longer it takes a user to access the relevant information needed, it is less likely that a spontaneous purchase is made. That means that companies will be more successful if they can provide such personalised information that the customer is able to gain the relevant information straight away without unnecessary hassle.


Knowing the physical location of the Internet user at a particular moment creates an important benefit for m-commerce over wired e-commerce in that products and services can be matched to the customer's location (Turban & Volonino, 2010). This is called Location-based marketing and works with the help of GPS. The use of mobile phones attached with this technology grows rapidly in numbers since the technology-adaption cycle is comparatively short in the mobile phone market (Kizna, 2010). Companies making use of that technology can send information linked to the location of customers and their preferences.Therefore, combining the attributes of localisation and personalisation could really revolutionise the way companies target their customers. For example, if a person goes to the local Woolworth supermarket the company would be able to send specific promotional information on preferred products to the mobile phone of the customer as soon as he is within reach of the store. Since the adoption of technology within mobile phones happens very quickly and GPS is becoming a standard feature in many mobile phones, localization-based and personalized advertising via mobile phones will soon be a must for companies if they do not want to lose their competitive edge. Besides all the benefits just mentioned the integrity of the user should not be violated. There is a fine line between information/advertising perceived as useful or perceived as spam. If companies cross that line they could lose loyal customers instead of gaining new ones.

Instant Connectivity

The mobile phone can become the one dominant device that connects the physical and virtual world. Probably the most supportive fact for that argument is that mobile phones have massive adoption globally as mentioned above. Although broadband use on mobile phones is still comparatively new, a lot more people have mobile phones compared to personal computers or laptops. That in turn means that instant internet access via mobile phones will sooner or later overtake that of personal computers and laptops (Melanson, 2010). From a business and customer perspective that means it is more than likely that mobile phones will connect companies and customers on a huge scale more easily than it was possible in the past and allow companies to take the advantages of the unique possibilities of mobility.

In order to picture all these drivers, the person from the example above is still stuck in a traffic jam thus incapable to access usual e-commerce. Given that time is very valuable, the person may perhaps use their mobile phone (instant connectivity) in order to check their current bank account balance (convenience). Meanwhile the person gets a reminder to pick up the car from a mechanic (ubiquity). And just before the cars keep moving again the person also receives a customised advertisement of a new golf club (personalisation) available at a golf store he is just passing by (localisation).

Discussion and Conclusion

Challenges for Business

Mobile commerce is a rising market especially with the enormous growing numbers of mobile phones in mind. However, besides all the opportunities mentioned throughout the essay there are also some key challenges which have to be overcome by businesses in order to realise the benefits.

For example, businesses should not rush into mobile commerce without strategically planning this move. Services that are offered to customers via mobile phones should be related to the unique aspect of mobility. That means it would only make sense to invest in mobile advertisement for example if it would not be possible to do the same advertisement via usual e-commerce and a fixed line. For that reason it will be essential for business strategies that are created for mobile commerce applications to put emphasise on distinguished mobile attributes rather than usual e-commerce strategies (Barnett, Hodges & Wilshire, 2000).

Since mobile phones are still less user-friendly in terms of internet browsing for example, it is crucial to success that businesses provide their consumers with easy-to-access information. The ease of use is an important part in order to achieve a wide consumer adaption. Consumers have to be convinced that they really benefit from mobile commerce and that mobile commerce makes a difference compared to the traditional use of e-commerce.

Moreover, companies have to understand that it is important how to best integrate mobile commerce and its unique characteristics in their existing business model (Yuan & Zhang, 2003). For example, retailers and manufacturers have to consider that mobile commerce means providing a service and not only product and goods. Their current business model might not be suited for offering mobile commerce services since that requires other resources, different knowledge, and maybe even a different internal structure. On the other hand, with the right business model that allows them to integrate mobile commerce in their core business, companies could gain competitive advantages over other similar companies not realising the benefits of mobile commerce.

Source: Essay UK -

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The History and Evolution of Cell Phones

By: Amanda Ray Filed under: Gaming & Technology

January 22, 2015

Could you survive without your mobile phone? Cell phones have become incredibly advanced in a relatively short amount of time, and the possibilities for the future are seemingly endless.

In The Beginning

Many of the early cell phones were considered to be “car phones,” as they were too large and cumbersome to carry around in a pocket or purse. However, in 1983, the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x arrived on the market. Though huge by today’s standards, it was considered the first truly mobile phone because it was small enough to carry.

The phone, though incredibly expensive, became a pop culture symbol, showing up on everyone from Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street, to high school heartbreaker, Zack Morris, in Saved by the Bell.

“You always have the trendsetters who are not afraid of trying new things and then everyone else follows,” says Patricia Grullon, an Industrial Design instructor at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. “These trendsetters are key to make any product popular.”

However, cell phone use hadn’t spread to the general public yet.

“They were primarily used in the sales and business world, but not often for personal use like you see today,” says Kreg Jones, an industrial designer and Industrial Design instructor at The Art Institute of Philadelphia.

Though the DynaTac and subsequent models were smaller, mobile, and ultimately cooler, they still had their faults. Bulky, luggable models like the Nokia Mobira Talkman and the Motorola 2900 Bag Phone had longer battery lives and more talk time, making them more popular at the time. As the technology advanced, cell phone companies figured out how to pack all the features their customers wanted into a smaller, portable, more affordable model.

A Shifting Purpose

Early cell phones were just for talking. Gradually, features like voicemail were added, but the main purpose was talk. Eventually, cell phone manufacturers began to realize that they could integrate other technologies into their phone and expand its features. The earliest smartphones let users access email, and use the phone as a fax machine, pager, and address book.

In recent years, the purpose of the cell phone has shifted from a verbal communication tool to a multimedia tool, often adopting the name “mobile device” rather than being called a phone at all. We now use our cell phones more for surfing the web, checking email, snapping photos, and updating our social media status than actually placing calls.

“Rapidly expanding software titles, better screen resolution, and constantly improved interface make cell phones easier to navigate, and more fun to use. Add to that an expanding capacity that can hold as much memory as a computer would just a few years ago, and you can see why it’s an exploding market,” Grullon says.

The cell phones of today are also replacing our other gadgets, such as cameras and video cameras. When cameras were first introduced on phones, the images were low quality and the feature was considered to just be an extra.

“Now, we're seeing a very fast shift to where consumers don't even bother carrying their point-and-shoot cameras anymore, and just use their cell phones,” says Jamie Lendino, a tech journalist and senior mobile analyst for

Modern day smartphones — the Apple iPhone in particular — changed everything that consumers expect from their phones. The app market has transformed the phone into a virtual toolbox with a solution for almost every need.

Changing Shape

It’s not just the technology of the cell phone that has changed over time, the physical design has also gone through a rollercoaster of changes. Original car phones and bag phones were as large as modern day computers and just as heavy.

“Like computers, the cell phone over time has become drastically smaller,” Jones says. He recalls reviewing focus group results while working with Ericsson GE Mobile in the mid-90s. “Customer research showed that the phone was so small that the user interface was unacceptable. Though the phone may have functioned perfectly well, their opinion was partially driven by the perception that the phone was simply too small.”

Eventually, customers’ perceptions shifted and they demanded a smaller, sleeker cell phone.

Just in recent years, cell phone designs have actually started to become larger and simpler, making room for a larger screen and less buttons. Because phones have become mobile media devices, the most desirable aspect is a large, clear, high-definition screen for optimal web viewing.  Even the keyboard is being taken away, replaced by a touch screen keyboard that only comes out when you need it. The most obvious example of this is the Apple iPhone and subsequent competitors like the Droid models.

Future of the Cell Phone

The cell phone has changed and developed so rapidly in the past decade that it seems as though almost anything you can imagine is possible for the future. According to Jones, the convergence of all our tech gadgets into one mobile device will continue to advance.  He anticipates that “the majority of the hardware and the software can be moved to ‘the cloud’ and the product will mainly be comprised of the input and the display.”

Lendino expects that the smartphone will eventually completely take over the market.

“Within a few more years, I expect regular cell phones to disappear entirely. We may not even call smartphones ‘smart’ anymore and just drop the term altogether, the way we stopped saying ‘color TV’ and ‘hi-fi stereo’,” he says.

Grullon believes that cell phones of the future will be adapted to appeal more to our emotional senses.

“I believe in the future, cell phones will become even more naturally in sync with our biological reflexes and processes such as eye movement, thought processes, kinesthetic, cultural preferences,” she says.

It’s not just about how we will change cell phone, Grullon says.

“The question is, how will the cell phone change us?”

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