Smartphone Technology, Consumer Attachment and Mass Customisation

Smartphone Technology, Consumer Attachment and Mass Customisation

Tom Page (Loughborough Design School, Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/jgc.2013070104


This research examines the way in which consumers interact with mobile technologies such as smartphones in order to ascertain the effect of these technologies on product markets and consumer lifestyle. Despite challenges present in the current tablet style of smartphones users felt they were able to overcome this by personalisation of the interface. Research through surveys and interviews concludes that both positive and negative aspects have been shown to exist within a new smartphone culture, these are largely reported as positive due to easier availability of information when a smartphone is accessible.
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Literature Review

The technological capabilities needed for the mobile telephone have been established in the UK since the 1940’s, however for reasons to be discussed in this section, it took until the 1990 for the use of a truly mobile telephone to “take off” in popularity (Lacochee et al., 2003). Simply put, early mobile smartphones were large, unable to fit in the pocket and as such were often installed in cars. As they were so heavy, cumbersome and expensive, no more than a handful of households had them, and were most commonly found in the cars of doctors-on-call or in a “bank-on-wheels” (ibid). In 1973, the first true mobile smartphone, created by Dr Martin Cooper in (ImpactLab, 2011) as well as the arrival of the first analogue cellular network by company AT&T in America. Together, these set the scene for the current way we see mobile telephones – portable, with a network and therefore calls available for use in most places visited, not just in a car.

Due to the increased portability and advances in technology by 1981 mobile smartphone usage had jumped in popularity, with the largest uptake in Sweden where 20,000 mobile smartphones were in use (Lacohee et al., 2003). The market increased as businesses such as the trucking and construction industries bought mobile smartphones for safety (ibid), this industrial use gave the public exposure needed for a sudden increase in popularity. In 1987, the services provided to the general public were expanded and with licenses granted to two networks - Telecom Securicor Cellular Radio Limited and Vodasmartphone – and in the UK uptake of the mobile telephone began to boom (ibid). During this time, the popularity of the mobile telephone was very much down to a market push due to rapidly developing technology.

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