Coffee Talk 511: Smartphones, the Ultimate Disruptor?!?

The evolution of smartphones has screwed a number of businesses. Less people are buying watches. Point-and-shoot camera sales are down. Many pundits have predicted that handheld consoles are doomed. A big reason why the three aforementioned industries have taken a hit is because of smartphones. They’re just fantastic and versatile devices. Have you ever seen a consumer electronics device impact so many other businesses?

Remember when tech nerds would tote around a…

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, Nicky Minaj possibly judging American Idol 2013, preparing for fantasy football, or getting over AJ Lee, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

The evolution of smartphones has screwed a number of businesses. Less people are buying watches. Point-and-shoot camera sales are down. Many pundits have predicted that handheld consoles are doomed. A big reason why the three aforementioned industries have taken a hit is because of smartphones. They’re just fantastic and versatile devices. Have you ever seen a consumer electronics device impact so many other businesses?

Remember when tech nerds would tote around a phone, a camera, and a portable gaming system? These days, many people are completely satisfied with an iPhone or an Android phone being the one device to rule them all. Certainly you can snap better pictures with a Sony Nex-5N and can have deeper gaming experiences on a Nintendo 3DS, but for most people, smartphone photos and games are perfectly fine.

The crazy part is that smartphone capabilities are moving at a ridiculous pace. Think about the improvements in mobile-phone cameras over the last two years. Look at the awesome advancements in mobile graphics. Yeah, there are some slick point-and-shoot cameras coming up and today’s portable consoles are better than ever, but the improvements in those devices are being outpaced by their smartphone counterparts. Like The Carpenters said, “We’ve only just begun.”

Have you ever seen a consumer electronics device disrupt so many competitors? Are smartphones the ultimate disruptor? Leave your thoughts in the comments section (please!).

Author: RPadTV


26 thoughts on “Coffee Talk 511: Smartphones, the Ultimate Disruptor?!?”

  1. Video game consoles disrupted (and killed) the arcade industry.

    File sharing services gave cancer to big record labels.

    The calculator killed the abacus. CDs and DVD buried VHS and audio tapes.

    The car (and, subsequently a paved interstate system) killed rail transportation and the horse & buggy industry.

    Gunpowder decimated archery and sword manufacturing.

    Over the past 100 years, though, I would have to say that the computer (integrated circuit board) and the car (internal combustion engine) in general have been the biggest disruptors overall. I see modern smart phones as just an extension or a small segment of the “computer disruptor” pie chart. This category also includes software.


    1. See, in most of the examples you used, one device was replacing an older one used for the same or similar purpose. What’s unique about smartphones is that it’s primarily a phone or a personal computer, depending on the person using it. Having that replace a camera is unusual and cool.

  2. The computer. It killed white out, typewriter ribbons, typewriter repairmen, made for automation of COUNTLESS jobs and is currently still trying to kill paper.

    Technically though, since a smartphone IS a computer, I’d just call the computer the ultimate disruptor.

  3. Yes i completely agree with u. The “smartphone” is the Ultimate disruptor. Also there is no way i can completely get over AJ.

      1. Well its easy to say that when u have met her. I havent and probably never will. Closest i’ll get is going to raw on labor day.

      2. It actually started before that. She started getting a lot of attention when she was in angles with Danielson. She’s undeniably awesome. I just liked it better when far less people knew.

  4. Nightshade, Thundercracker, Lunias, SlickyFats, and anyone else- are you guys interested in fantasy football this year? There are still a couple open spots that we need to fill asap.

  5. Ok, so my recent splurging of $90 for a chock-full of TPB’s had me wondering: “How much do digital comics cost if I were to get one of them fancy-schmancy comic book e-readers?”

    I’m currently paying anywhere from $8-$14 for TPBs. The occasional hardcover sets me back $20 to $45 depending on what it is, of course. Overall, I’ve spent well over $500 for my near-complete collection of Marvel’s Ultimate Universe line, among others.

    I’m trying to decide whether it would make more financial sense to buy comics digitally. If the price difference is just a few bucks, I don’t think it would be worth it. If it’s something like half the price (or more) than the physical books, then I would definitely have to give that some serious consideration.

    Any advice?


    1. It depends on your patience really. The cost for new stuff is the same. Comixology has multiple sales every week where back issues are marked down to 99 cents each. I’ve bought a lot of 99 cent issues that turned out to be cheaper than the TPB equivalent.

    2. I have tried to keep away from too many digital comics on my kindle fire mostly because I just don’t enjoy the feel or look of them. Personally I enjoy the actual book. Now I have read a fair number of comics and books on my kindle fire, and I do love using it, but if I’m going to purchase something than I would probably only purchase through the kindle store (because what is better than supporting this site through digital book purchases?).

      I have tried to stay away from Comixology for two reasons. 1. I don’t like using an app to then go through the books I want to read, and the feel of that just doesn’t mesh with the ease of everything else I have on my kindle fire. And B) to the best of my knowledge, in the event of comixology going belly up, I would lose all the comics I had purchased. What you are actually paying comixology for is the right to read their comics in a digital format. This is probably my biggest reason for not going with them for anything, as once I pay for something in that manner I prefer to own it- especially when it costs about as much as the physical item at release.

      Now I do have plenty of digital comics on my kindle fire, but not many of them would be considered legal. One thing I do with these files is download the ones that that I own physical copies of, but do not want to actually read the physical copy. I just read Spider-Man Blue again on my kindle fire on a copy of that book that I downloaded, but I also own the individual issues and didn’t want to take them out of their bags. Chances are I will also buy the tpb someday as well. Amazing Spider-Man I also have the first 150 issues of, and the entire run of Spectacular Spider-Man, including all their annuals of both series. The first thing I tried to do was find a good way of reading these digitally, but I couldn’t find a way to read them all. Marvel’s Unlimited Digital subscription was tempting until I looked at the UI, and they didn’t even have all the issues available that I have. That is one service I would gladly pay for if I felt it gave me a better value for what I was trying to read, but downloading the issues illegally proved to be the easiest way to obtain the material. I know that I could buy the Essentials collections at roughly $20 a book and it would take about 7-8 books I believe to cover the number of issues I have, but they are also in black and white only and I found them difficult to read and pay attention to.

      IMO, it depends on what comics you really want to read digitally and whether they are available easily. Also, it is worth noting that it is legal for me to have the digital copies downloaded of items that I already own, ex) Spider-Man Blue. So if you were looking to get digital copies of Ultimate Spider-Man or anything else out of the Ultimate universe (things I know you already own) so that you didn’t have to put wear and tear on your physical copies then you would have every right to download them, and in that case the kindle fire is an excellent way to read them. I can’t cite the exact case right now, but the precedent for that was set sometime in the 90’s I believe where a case stated that it was legal to own emulators for games, media, etc. that you already owned the physical copy of.

      This went on for a little longer than I intended, but it’s all just food for thought. By now this is my five cents worth.

      1. Has the Marvel Unlimited Digital subscription come to ipad yet, or is that still something for the future? I’m sure the UI would be better on an ipad (or other tablet), but for starters the search function is horrendous. I’ve also been surprised by the large gaps in comics available. I don’t expect everything I want to be available there, but the gaps in Amazing Spider-Man are random enough to not make any sense to me.

      2. Wow, man, I was expecting a one or two sentence answer, like: “No, it’s not worth it” and I would have believed you. But thanks for the dissertation on digital comics, professor.

        I think that I am going to stick to TPBs and HCs for now. Since I don’t have any type of tablet computer, it’s kind of a moot point for me, anyway. If I ever do get one, I’ll probably “borrow” some comics from the interwebs and read it first. If I enjoy it, I’ll buy the physical copy since I like to support those writers/artists that I like and I want them to make more.

        The problem I’ve been having lately is that that large amount of cash I drop at one time gets me pretty “meh” stories. It’s partly my fault since I’ve committed to the “Ultimate Marvel” line on the strengths of Brian Bendis (even though he’s not doing any more Ultimate comics on a regular basis) and he’s not helming that line anymore. The people that took it over are doing a pretty crap job compared to Brian’s earlier stuff. I really should be smarter and only buy TPBs of authors I actually like, and not the characters. The exception would be Joseph “D.J. Jazzy Jeph” Loeb who apparently sucks at mainstream Marvel but is awesome with Batman.

        If you are going to continue with the Ultimate Spider-Man line, I suggest you stop at the clone saga. There are a few good stories here and there after that, but for the most part, it’s pretty flat. Also, you have to read Ultimates 1 & 2, especially if you are a fan of the Avengers (movie). Nick Fury plays a subversive, but prominent role in the Ultimate Spider-Man line and it’s worth it two read those two story arcs.


      3. Glad I could help. If you did ever want a tablet I would easily recommend the kindle fire based on how easy it is to use and the low purchase price. Amazon also has an ever growing selection of graphic novels to purchase through them, which I haven’t gotten yet but plan to sometime in the future. I will most likely pick up another copy of Watchmen on there because it’s just $10 and I know I will enjoy the portability and the ease of use. Like I said I would also love it if the Marvel Unlimited Digital subscription was better, but a horrible UI and being chained to only reading on a computer (for now) is enough to keep me away. I might suffer through it for a month or two sometime though just so I can read something like Kingdom Come or Civil War, etc. I don’t have to own all of those right now, but would still like to read them, so in that case a digital subscription for $5 a month would work well.

        I liked Spider-Man: Blue a lot, and one of the comic shops around me has almost a full set of Daredevil: Yellow single issues for $1 a piece, so I might check that out too. Loeb did well with Spider-Man, and I will get around to The Long Halloween sometime soon to see how he does there. Lately though I’ve been choosing my tpb’s based on the story I want to read rather than a particular writer. It’s worked out for me so far.

  6. I don’t want to go as broad as merely stating “The Internet”, so I’ll list a few ways that the internet and computers have disrupted the industry: e-mail, file-sharing websites, online newspapers, ciphers, manga scans, video streaming.

    E-mail and other social networking sites are killing the Postal Service at the moment. Why send a letter that’ll get there in a few days when you can type a few words on your computer and send a message that’ll arrive in a few seconds?

    File-sharing is a HUGE disruptor, because it affects many industries. Games can be pirated, music can be downloaded, programs can be distributed – the list goes on and on. Although most forms of file-sharing are considered illegal, it’s hard to deny that it’s a big deal.

    Online blogs, news and articles are hitting the newspaper industry hard. The same info that comes out in your daily newspaper will probably be on the internet before said paper even comes out, and it will certainly cost less. Plus, the newspaper is only one source, while you can reach hundreds of sources online.

    The invention of the first computer had a lot to do with ciphers. Where a person could code a message by hand, you could run the same message through a cipher machine and get a nearly unbreakable code. The ability to communicate without risk of leaked information has been a huge factor in wars since its creation. Surely, without this method of encryption, things could have gone much differently for the world.

    Manga scans and dubbed anime is causing a big ruckus worldwide. When you can read thousands of manga series and watch thousands of anime series online, sales of each go down tremendously. It’s causing so much trouble that individual publishers and writers banded together and shut down OneManga – a manga-scan website that hit Google’s Top 1000 list two years ago.

    And finally, video streaming… remember back when Blockbuster was a thing? ‘Nuff said.

    1. I have to disagree with File Sharing being a disruptor. Prior to the digital age theft and other modes of illegally copying were available. I would also like to point out that a file sharer isn’t a lost revenue in that 1) a unique physical property was not stolen and 2) there is no proof that a file sharer would have in fact purchased said media in the first place. Number 2 would never be freely admitted in an earnings statement but the fact of the matter is that it’s true. I’m not saying theft in general isn’t a loss of revenue, but the actual lost revenues aren’t quantifiable. Mainly since there isn’t a game cartridge stolen etc.

      1. I think the file sharing made the same problem broader.

        Back before the internet and mp3 players, there would be certain albums I wanted that nobody I knew had and weren’t available at any of my local record stores. It got to the point that I had a list made of every record store in the Pittsburgh area that I would call through looking for certain albums or singles even. Whenever I traveled to any other city, it was my goal to find their record stores and see what they had that I didn’t. It was AMAZING what you could find in these small rinky-dink mom and pop record stores.

        Anyway, once I’d get these awesome albums or singles, Alot of times I would copy them for my friends. Now, I could maybe make 6 to 10 (give or take) dubs of an album before I just wouldn’t want to do it anymore. From those dubs I did make, not too many people would dub the dub and even if they did, the person after that SURELY wouldn’t dub that because the quality would be total ass-sauce.

        So there’s your equation. Let’s say I made 10 (which is actually REALLY high, I think the only time I actually made that many dubs was the Use Your Illusion albums). Now, let’s say all 10 of those people dubbed it again. AT MOST you are responsible for 100 copies floating around. Now, the chances of all 10 people dubbing it are minimal, but to be fair, we’ll say we’re responsible for 10 to 100 copies when you made 10 dubs which is pretty much only when you have an album alot of people in your neighborhood want.

        Since file sharing, 1 person can now be responsible for thousands to millions of copies at more of an exponential multiplier rate since all the digital copies don’t lose quality.

        Is that a bad thing? If you are a record label… yes. If you are an independent musician… only if you make it a problem by not embracing it as the present future of the medium along with Youtube.

      2. So your stance is that better technology increases the rate? I would agree but I don’t know how impactful it is on sales. If a person wasn’t willing to pay for it in the first place, it isn’t a lost sale.

        Granted my stance can be seen as too rigid given the fact that recently we have seen articles put out that tell us teens listen to most of their music on YouTube. That mentality of everything digital is or should be free will be damaging if current models fail to adapt.

      3. Exactly. The musicians don’t actually make a whole lot of money from CDs and MP3 sales – in fact, I’ve seen some actually encourage their fans to pirate their music, because the total loss in revenue for the artist is negligible. However, the record companies make less money when their songs are available for free, so they make a big deal out of it.

      4. Sure, other modes of copying were viable before file sharing, but it was more difficult and much less widespread. Nowadays, you would be hard-pressed to find somebody who doesn’t have pirated music on any of their devices. Plus, as I cannot say that all file sharers are lost revenue, you cannot say that no file sharers are lost revenue, as there is no proof of either. While a large percentage of pirates wouldn’t pay anyway, there is a fair amount that would have bought the product without file sharing.

        Plus, I never said that the lost revenue is the only reason that File Sharing is a disruptor. Just think about it for a second. The reason that DRM was created in the first place was to stop people who pirated games, many of which were caused by torrents (AKA file-sharing). Without file-sharing websites, would we have DRM in the first place? Without file-sharing, companies wouldn’t be fighting pirates as much since it would be much more difficult to pirate software. That alone is a pretty big disruption.

      5. False. DRM and the like are about protecting legacy business models in the digital age and not adapting. The examples of this are pretty widespread so I am not going to fill this post listing them out but look at the streaming options on Netflix as an example. DRM for software is a different issue thanks to an old AutoCad lawsuit.

        Also lost revenues would be the indication of the disruption in this sense.

        How would you quantify a loss of revenue based upon file sharing? Subsequently how can you say that “there is a fair amount that would have bought the product without file sharing” with certainty? Perhaps I’m thinking about it too much as an accountant but neither is quantifiable with enough assurance to be legitimate measure. I sure have a hard time fathoming a reason based upon record revenues for the media industries.

      6. I would not say you are thinking about this like an accountant too much by any means. I haven’t jumped in on this one because my view is pretty much spot on with yours. Douglas Rushkoff would also agree with you on this one. In fact, so much so that a chapter of one of his books dealt with this issue. Downloading is sharing, not stealing; and there isn’t any good way (that I know of or can think of) that would be able to quantify loss of revenue in these proposed instances.

      7. Exactly. There is no difference between file sharing and say me lending you the new Ozzy cassette or telling you about the Wolverine movie and you deciding to not go see it.

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