If you think about the one gadget you simply can’t live without, most of us would say our smartphones, right? Like what would you do if people couldn’t always absolutely definitely get in touch with you. Well a study dug up by The Atlantic looks at rates of adoption shows that mobile phones were actually relatively slow to take over the world. The fastest gadget? The boom box.
Within seven years of its initial release in the 1970s, the boom box had been adopted by 63 per cent of Americans. mobile phones, on the other hand, only penetrated 10 per cent of the market. As Madrigal points out, the top five fastest adopted gadgets are entertainment gadgets and not communication gadgets. There are a lot of potential reasons for this difference which include everything from how fast the technology’s price drops to how quickly the technology gets good enough to be widely useful.
Anyone who owned a mobile phone in the early 90s knows they were expensive and not that good. While the boom box came to market as a fully realised vision, it took a long time for the mobile phone to actually be useful.
It would also be interesting to see the smartphone broken out as its own category, since the phones we’re carrying around today really aren’t mobile phones at all. The data on market penetration cited in the study actually predates the smartphone’s seventh anniversary. Would it beat out the boom box? [JMMR via The Atlantic]