LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

Looking beyond the smartphone

We had the good fortune to develop a proposal on training app developers before smartphone started dominating the markets we care about. We did not get the money; they gave it to some Pakistani government outfit that could not even start the work, but that aside, we benefited from the exercise. It forced us to stretch our thinking.

In the same way, this article which is about Alexa and its variants is useful in stretching our thinking beyond the smartphone.

Modern smartphone platforms have become a minefield of distractions, dominated by social media apps whose primary goal is to occupy ever more time. There are already signs that the smartphone-driven “attention economy” has detrimental health effects.

Developers are also looking for ways to break free of the smartphone business, which now has a glut of apps that people aren’t using. According to ComScore, the share of U.S. smartphone owners who downloaded zero new apps per month exceeded 50% in June, and nearly three-quarters of smartphone owners downloaded fewer than three apps in that period. A 2015 study by Forrester found that just a handful of tech giants dominate the time users spend on their phones.

“Peak app has already happened,” says Brian Roemmele, an independent tech consultant who specializes in voice and commerce.

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