We Are All One Device

Let’s rewind back 10 years ago. When everybody had a different ringtone. When everybody’s phone was a different colour. When one person’s was a flip phone, the other a touch screen. And mainly, when everybody had a different mobile phone.

Now it’s 2017, where Nokia, Motorolla and Sony Erricson are never spoken of. And the only options for you to become a part of modern society is to either be one of two: Team Apple or Team Samsung.

“I like Samsung more because it has a better battery life!” and “I prefer the iPhone because the camera is way better than Samsung’s” are the common discussions of contemporary digital culture.

Why are we forced to choose between the two? What if I don’t want either one? Why is my device identifying who I am and what ‘smartphone team’ I belong to?

How did this happen? The typical, if not daily, scenario where one person’s smartphone rings from within a crowd and we all so quickly turn to check if it was our phone that’s ringing because we all have the same ‘Opening’ ringtone. That’s because we all have an iPhone— only some have the 6s, some the 7 and others who are so much more cooler than the rest of us, the 8.

 
A comical skit reflecting the moment when everyone has the same ringtone, ‘Opening’.

Coincidence? The smartphone revolution took a series of longterm planning and strategy to divide massive populations into either iOS or Android. And smartphones which were once seen as a luxury are now a necessity.

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Ever since GAFAM dominated the market, we have been left with not much choice. This is what contemporary digital capitalism looks like:

 
‘GAFA’ or ‘GAFAM’ are known as the Big 4 or Big 5 in today’s digital market

We tend to think that there are ample digital companies maintaining a healthy competitive market. However, when a series of mergers & acquisitions of the biggest tech giants are taking place, the market is only expanding for those big players and leaving no more room for the other smaller companies and startups that need to thrive and grow in a healthy market.

Just by typing ‘Google bought’ or ‘Facebook bought’, you can find a number of acquisitions for the big players.

While Instagram is a huge Internet company, Facebook strategically bought its competitor for $1 billion in order to gain a larger photo database of its users. And while WhatsApp’s promising ‘encryption of messages’ seems to reassure us, rest assured that Facebook has access to your very own personal chats ever since it bought WhatsApp.

Sound familiar?

Not only are these multi-billion enterprises strategic in their impact on our society, but they also have their own tactics with matters like tax evasion.

Tax havens, such as places like Luxembourg and Ireland, seem to be popular for these companies. This article reveals how companies like Google, Apple and Amazon avoided billions in taxes.

So why, as a society, are we left with two choices — the iPhone or the Samsung Galaxy Note?

And why are we laughed at if we carry a tiny, hard Nokia that lives for days without charging, has more lives than cats and can survive for decades? 

Apple could have easily designed its devices to live longer, but it didn’t, for many reasons. Find out about Apple’s purposeful ‘planned obsolesence’ tactics in my next article Why Your iPhone Won’t Live for Very Long

 

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