Are Smart Phones Already On the Way Out?


In the past year, “mobile-first” has become a mantra for much of the venture community, but is mobile already getting left behind even while half the world is still catching on? Maybe.

There are two things that make me think this might happen.  The first is that more and more people are beginning to settle for buying the older version of iPhones—mainly because the iPhone 5 simply has not introduced enough wow-factors to sway people from purchasing the far-less expensive iPhone 4.  The smart phone, in many consumers’ mind, is old news.

The second is that I believe wearable technology is the future.  Between Pebble, MYO, and Google Glass I am beginning to see a future where what we wear interacts with everything around us.  Is Google Glass the final iteration? Definitely not. But is something like it going to replace the phone? I think so.

I am beginning to look for a world in which our appliances, furniture, white boards and cars are all “smart,”  a world where we can interact with these devices by pointing our fingers, making commands, and where everything we see can automatically be recorded within a split second.

I am looking forward to what happens when MYO and Leap Motion release robust SDKs with a huge set of gestures that can easily be applied to everyday life events.  I can’t wait until students at Cornell, Stanford and MIT are building applications using those technologies, and when manufacturers make sure “smart” technology is inherently embedded into everything they produce.

Sure, mobile phones were once meant to communicate with others—but now they are also used to provide a constant stream of information.  Soon, they will be used to interact with the world around us both socially and functionally, and we will feel them even more seamlessly.  Even Square might be outdated once we are able to hold up a card to Google Glass, snap a picture and automatically send a receipt to the person we just charged.

I could be wrong—maybe I’m overly optimistic, and wearable technology will have a hard time reaching a price point, or be held up by low-tech industries like appliances.  But I have a feeling we’re going to see some really cool and powerful things happen.

Ali Hamed is a managing partner of CoVenture, a service-oriented firm that invests in early stage tech startups. He’s also a manager of First Round Capital’s Dorm Room Fund, a co-founder of the POPSHOP and a mentor/advisor to a number of accelerators and startups. Follow him on Twitter @alibhamed.