Cell phones are quickly becoming the new frontier in emerging technology. I’m told that smart phone adoption rates are much higher in Japan and Europe. Here in the U.S., things are just heating up. Yesterday Amazon.com announced TextBuyIt, a service that will allow you to compare prices by sending a text message. Amazon sends a message in return with pricing info on the product in question w/ an option to buy from them on the spot.
Amazon TextBuyIt, which launched late Tuesday, lets people text the name of a product, its description or its UPC or ISBN to 262966 (that’s “Amazon” on the keypad) from anywhere their cell phones work – including from inside physical stores.
If Amazon stocks matching items, the service returns two results at a time. Shoppers can immediately buy one of the first two the selections by texting back the number “1″ or “2,” or they can ask for more by texting the letter “M.”
Paypal announced a similar service last year. Paypal offers more possibilities for independent retailers whereas Amazon’s service is a direct challenge to big box retailers. The only thing the two have in common is leveraging mobile phone technology. Therein lies the key. Terms like Web 3.0 will quickly become obsolete as mobile technology continues to emerge. What we’re going to see is a combination of traditional internet technology combined with mobile technology. What we consider “Web” is quickly moving beyond fiber optics and phone lines and is combining with wireless internet and cellular. Phones are cheap in comparison to computers. Their mobility makes communication even more instantaneous in an era where a story is old seconds after it first appears.
I never fully realized the appeal of this instantaneous communication until this year’s SXSW Interactive conference. I was following someone from Minnesota who was there and witnessed the takeover of a panel that was facilitated by backchannels created in Twitter and Meebo. I didn’t get a detailed account, but sitting in my office in Minneapolis, I was privy to something very interesting occurring in Austin, TX. I’ll be very surprised if I don’t read about it in Wired next month.
Last month I saw Matt Dickman speak and in part of his presentation, he covered the timing of information released about the 35W bridge collapse. It turns out that word got out via Twitter before traditional media had a chance to start reporting on it.
Two days ago, @chuckumentary reported on an oil spill via Twitter as it happened. The whole phenomenon has exciting implications for consumers, marketers, citizen journalists and friends. The connections no longer require us to be tethered to a computer. If you haven’t tried it, you have no idea how appealing that is.
- Amazon.com Announces TextBuyIt
- Go Mobile Young Man!
- Google’s AppEngine
- MinneWebCon 2008
Tags: mobile, New Media, retail, Social Media
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