When Kevin came up with his mobile hierarchy of needs it was a simpler time. He was phone guy and a BlackBerry guy in a phone world and a BlackBerry world. And like a black belt karateka in the age of Chuck Norris, that was the baddest ass you could be. So, of course he built his pyramid with communications as its foundation. How could he not?
Then the iPhone showed up, and like Royce Gracie and the UFC, it turned expectations upside down. People who were used to the hardware keyboard and data compression combo didn’t understand what hit them. For many, communication didn’t come first. They’d go without MMS – they were fine with basic phone service and data connections – for a full web, all their iTunes stuff, and to fling birds.
But also like Gracie, being a specialist doesn’t last long either. People catch on and catch up. They cross-train and become well-rounded. So while Apple got Exchange support, BlackBerry got App World and the Torch Browser, Google added media services, and Microsoft put Xbox media and gaming on Windows Phone.
Now we live in an era where the hierarchy of needs has been turned upside down, squished up, and turned into a multilane highway of parallel needs.
Media, while still siloed on each platform, has also been decoupled. Sure you can still buy or rent content from Apple or Google or Microsoft, but you can also get it from Netflix, Amazon, Songza, Spotify, and a hundred other services.
You can get all that on a smaller 4-inch smartphone or a giant 6.3-incher, or a 7- or 10-inch tablet, or you can broadcast to a Chromecast, Apple TV, HDMI onto a big TV.
We’ve moved from prioritizing needs to smartphones juggling all of our wants.
We’ve moved from an age of having to prioritizing needs to one where smartphones juggle all of our wants. That’s not to say that all services and smartphones can be swapped easily. The platforms all do what they can to make the experience combos best within their ecosystems, be it Google, BlackBerry, LG, Microsoft, Samsung, Google, Amazon, Apple, HTC.
But if you’re starting fresh, the world is wide open. The phones have all been replaced by computers in our pockets, and they play media well. Figure out which operating system you like best, or which device size is perfect for you, and chances are you’ll have a great media experience no matter what you choose.