With all the hype surrounding which is the best or hottest smartphone it is easy to overlook the value that they provide to society. We are now able to access a wealth of information from anywhere and we are able to contribute information from anywhere. I bet the majority of Twitter and Facebook updates are being done on smartphones, and we have seen the power that Twitter has in providing news about natural disasters and political unrest.
In a blog post about cameras in phones Hutch Carpenter writes, “The rise of cheap phone cameras is actually increasing the historical record.” Carpenter’s argument is based on the fact that because so many people are now walking around with phones that have cameras, there is a higher probability that when a meaningful moment happens someone will be able to snap a picture of it. While the quality of the cameras in most phones is not the greatest, the fact that they are in the hands of so many people makes them so much more valuable.
If I were to add one thing to Carpenter’s post it is that connectivity is also a key enabler to the increase in smartphone camera use. Most people take pictures to share with others, which means it has to be real easy to get the pictures out of the phone. The integration of Facebook and Twitter with smartphones makes it real easy for people to share the pictures that they take with their friends and the world. Without the inclusion of the software that makes picture sharing so easy I don’t think smartphones have as much possibility for improving the historical record.