Had a conversation with a colleague the other day who asked if I'd seen that Android phones are running away with the market in China versus the iPhone. Prognosticators and market watchers in the tech world are always picking winners and losers. I guess it comes with a journalism degree - if you can't report it like a horse race you shouldn't report it at all?
Truth is the smart phone, and later the tablet, revolution has created a true world of winners. The easy access to information, the ability to transmit data and a host of other features offered by these devices has changed how we think. In speaking to Water Street's Ag Edge Meetings it's fun to ask people when the iPad first came out. This is the machine that is a game changer for laptop makers and more.
In April, the iPad will turn three (it is already in its fourth generation). It came out so early and caught so many companies off guard that others have been playing catch-up. But catch up they are and the newer Android based tablets, and the new Windows Surface (based on Windows RT - a new operating system), are offer new features too.
For farmers, the move to smart phones has been a big deal. I get asked all the time how many farmers have smart phones. And my best answer is "more every day as their contracts expire." I'm an avowed iPhone fan (regular readers know that) but Samsung has been bringing new ideas to the smart phone table and buyers are impressed.
The ability to text, check email, even surf the Web looking for an answer to key questions has been changed how we connect and communicate. Savvy marketers are using email to offer farmers deals. Smart companies are creating applications that keep you informed, or help you manage key farm systems. It's gotten to be such a big deal that starting in March we're adding an "App Column" to Farm Futures offering a look at apps we find (or are directed to) to help you cut through the clutter.
With more than 750,000 apps - give or take a few hundred - out there you need help too. While most are games, more are focused on productivity. In fact, there's talk that Microsoft will offer an app version of Office to the smart phone market. We're all still waiting.
So when commentators and pundits talk about "winners and losers" I think they're missing the point. With smart phones and tablets, everyone wins.