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Rob Glaser Defines the Superphone and Predicts the Mobile Future

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The future of media will be information consumed on superphones while on the go, said Rob Glaser, chairman of RealNetworks, today in his first public speech since stepping down from his CEO position. In the speech, given in Seattle at a Mobile Broadband Breakfast event, he forecast that by 2013 the installed base of smart and superphones (see chart for Glaser’s definition of each) will exceed the installed base of PCs, and those web-surfing devices will be mobile. In this world he sees five big opportunities:

  1. People want digital persistence: They have an expectation that their content will be available everywhere at any point in time.
  2. People want universal access to content across all devices.
  3. The industry needs to make discovery easy, which means once people have access to digital content, they need to be able to find their stuff and new stuff they will like using semantic data.
  4. There will be new ways to empower social expression and engagement, much in the same way Twitter created a new category of expression and a way to communicate.
  5. The digital revolution will be a global phenomenon.

24 Responses to “Rob Glaser Defines the Superphone and Predicts the Mobile Future”

  1. Michael

    Why would superphones be touch phones? I prefer buttons instead of touch screen, it feels more secure, I can find my way around the phone without looking at it, which I can’t on touch screen phones. Will this no longer be a choice in the future? :(

  2. Ouch!
    Mr Glaser be steppin and the readers put the beat down on his sorry ass.

    I’m sure GigaOm needs to stay nice with various (once and future) kings of tech, but an article devoted to boilerplate doesn’t help anybody.

  3. melajara

    This is “only” a further step down in downsizing. Next one being “wearable” computing, then followed by “invisible” an euphemism for subcutaneous (creepier, hey) computing.

    Unfortunately, the computing model realized by those smaller and smaller machines didn’t change for 50 years.

    It’s about time to radically innovate to pave the way for true “cognitive” computing, machines based on memristors embodying the computing models of the mammalian brain, cf the BlueBrain project

  4. Bastian Nutzinger

    Who the heck is Rob Glaser, what the heck is Real Networks and why does anybody care what he says?
    And why on earth does he think he can define a new phone category? Look at the chart, what do you see? Exactly evolutionary steps, Smartphones and “Superphone” are the same thing one is the evulotion of another.
    Just like computers today are a evolution of computers a few years ago. Yes screen resolution increased, processor and memory increased but its still and goddam computer. You don’t hear people going around and saying. Wow my computer has a i7 processor it’s per definition a Supercomputer now… jesus f**** christ….

    • Subcategorization of larger categories is time-tested, common, and helps conversations about technology. Certainly you probably are ok (and don’t get as vitriolic) when people talk about feature-phones vs. smartphones, aren’t you? Again, common categorization in an ever expanding product category.

      There’s no doubt there was more than an evolutionary step between the Blackberry and Nokia “smartphones” and the iPhone in terms of web-browsing, apps, etc. That is what Glaser was trying to refer to when he talked about superphone vs. smartphone.

      Sure, it may not stick, but he was simply trying to communicate the leap.

      Evolutions happen – sometimes big disuptive changes push things forward in big-steps, sometimes they are small incremental changes. The iPhone wasn’t an incremental change from what came before it. It doesn’t hurt to try and differentiate what is expected/tablestakes for a smartphone before the iPhone, vs, what is expected afterwards.

  5. Why would anyone select such a low resolution for “superphones” when predicting the future when the high-end devices available NOW have 800×480 screens? Maybe for a watch-sized phone, or a blackberry-esque form factor, but not touch based superphones.

    David, this would requirement would redefine the iPhone as just a smartphone.