The famed media social scientist Marshall McLuhan maintained that successful media innovations were not only disruptive, changing the order of a broad swath of life, but invariably displaced existing media platforms as well.
When it comes to the media platform that arguably came of age in 2011 – the smartphone – the innovations it has brought forward have not only been disruptive, but also displaced a range of technologies that at one time (and not that long ago) were thought to be major growth categories.
Recent news that the latest technology dragon to be slain by the smartphone is the camera. According to NPD, the percent of photos taken with a smartphone grew from 17 last year to 27 this year while photos taken on any camera dropped from 52 percent to 44 percent. With the improving picture quality of smartphones, that trend is likely to continue.
But cameras are far from the only technologies to be nudged toward obsolescence by smartphones. According to a recent survey by Oracle, smartphones are also replacing MP3 players and GPS devices. Add that to that list gaming consoles, TVs and even computers.
As new applications emerge, there seems to be no end to the appetite of smartphones for gobbling up other technologies. They might come to be known as the “black holes” of the tech world, consuming everything around them because there seems to be no end to what they can do better, more effectively and more efficiently.
It’s a vivid reminder that innovation does not just disrupt, it displaces, too. And through that displacement, whole new industries often arise while others vanish.
Dean DeBiase is the Chairman and CEO of entertainment.com, the leading provider of the most recognized and purchased consumer discount, promotion and coupon service. He is known as an expansion phase CEO with a track record scaling emerging growth companies and embedding entrepreneurial-grade talent into multinational corporations. He’s a co-author of the best-selling The Big Moo.