THE BLOG
05/22/2009 01:26 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

America's Mobile Tipping Point

You know the mobile phone industry is changing for the better when a seasonal roll-out of new products attracts the kind of buzz usually found at the sports books in Las Vegas during March Madness.

The next few weeks will see an unprecedented unveiling of new mobile phones and software. First up is the Palm Pre with the new Palm operating system (OS) on June 6. There's also the Apple iPhone and its new software, followed by three new Blackberry PDAs from RIM, several phones with an updated Android OS, and finally new software from Microsoft.

All these phones have wildly different target markets. Some have touch screens; others use a keyboard - and their underlying technologies are completely different.

But they share a key trait: by successfully leveraging the "always-on" mobile Internet, they are quickly pushing America to a tipping point where voice calls are almost an afterthought with your mobile device.

Look at the facts: Americans sent a trillion text messages in 2008 , more messages than phone calls. The number of people using mobile banking services should hit 7 million this year and by year's end, TV stations in 28 of the country's largest markets will stream signals for mobile phones.

Across the country, mobile phones are replacing the wallets and increasingly used to pay for everything from parking to public transportation to fast food.

In the first three months of 2009, U.S. mobile users spent more than $10 billion on the data necessary to make all those apps function. This is not only 30 percent more than we spent during the same time last year, it's also the first time any country reached that level.

The "tipping point" we'll witness probably during the next several months is something like what we saw a few years back when broadband suddenly surged in popularity and a high-speed connection no longer meant 56 kbps. This will produce an unprecedented surge of opportunity and mobile applications to make our lives better, greener, and more productive. It will also revolutionize aspects of our healthcare, building on the promises of the Obama Administration.

With smartphones already accounting for one in four phones sold in the U.S., almost double last year's level, our "mobile revolution" is already emerging. The key for lawmakers and industry alike is to foster an environment that cultivates progress and creates good technology jobs, especially in this current economic climate.