Book Cover: “The Mobile Generation – Voices of the Mobile Generation” by Graham Brown.
Cellphone technology is a $400 billion/year industry. Today, over 1 billion cellphones are in the hands of young people under 30. That’s more people than the entire population of China.
It’s clear that mobile phone technology is now shaping the future of our species and our planet but, in the end analysis, this technology — no matter how far-reaching and broad in its implication — is simply a tool. A means to an end that no one has the slightest idea about.
In “The Mobile Youth”, author Graham Brown deconstructs the driving force behind the technology — the youth of the world — and inspects it through the lens of experience of his own nearly 20 years in the communications business. He examines the similarities and differences of, not only how young people in vastly different places use this digital “tool”, but how they feel about it emotionally: 61% of mobile phone owners sleep with their phones. The teddy bear has given way to the razorphone…
50% of these under-30s who own mobile phones live in Asia but Brown is quick to point out that the story of this world-changing technology is not limited to Asia:
“Japanese high school girls clutch mobile phones designed by Apple in California and manufactured by a Chinese company as they head . . . in search of handbags made by a nineteenth-century French brand, Louis Vuitton. It’s not Asia’s story because these mobile phone owning teenagers have much more in common with their foreign peers than they do with their parents.”
Brown includes stories from the ranks of the young in South America, the Middle East and the U.S. in his book. It’s clear, however, that Asia was far quicker to embrace this technology than the West. Japan and Korea had high-speed mobile internet connections back in 2000 when the standard everywhere else was 9k bps WAP and, in 1998 — a full 10 years ahead of Apple — the leading carrier in Japan already had an applications store.
The contrasts between Eastern and Western centers of population may hold some clues to the “Connected Wireless Future”. Graham points out that Tokyo lacks the sheer frenzy of New York — the visible homeless population, perpetually tardy public transportation, flaring tempers and conspicuous litter — even though the size of the population is comparable and cites the words of Harry Lime, the antagonist in Graham Greene’s novel “The Third Man”:
“…in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had 500 years of democracy and peace — and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”
It remains to be seen what innovations (if any) shall emerge from this “Generation Z” who have traded their teddy bears for cellphones; however, studying the fascinating stories of ten of its individual members — brought to light by Graham Brown in “The Mobile Youth” — just might give us some clues.
“The Mobile Youth — Voices of the Mobile Generation” by Graham Brown is available in Kindle format from Amazon.com at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009FEIRUM/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B009FEIRUM&linkCode=as2&tag=top5booksworth-20 . You can access the blog about the book at: http://mobileyouth.org/the-book .