Are Smartphones Taking Away I-Café Customers?
Smartphones like Blackberry, Treo and iPhone are mobile phones that have advanced computing abilities and fast connectivities to the Internet that basic cellphones do not have. Smartphones may be thought of as handheld computers integrated within mobile phones and their recent models are able to run applications based on platforms that allow the users to install and run advanced applications that can handle the users’ needs for email communications, social networking, audio and video streaming, gaming and others. Smartphones run complete operating system software and can be considered as Personal Pocket Computers with mobile phone functions which give them advantages over laptops and netbooks.
Our cellphone companies who are mobile internet service providers at the same time recently reported increasing internet access by its subscribers using smartphones. Mobile internet access are now available to prepaid cellphone subscribers for as low as ten (PhP10.00) pesos per half-hour and unlimited one-day access for fifty (PhP50.00) pesos only. Does this mean that many i-café goers are now doing their email communications and social networking in mobile modes? Sad to say, but it could be so for some of them who can afford to buy smartphones.
In general, the i-cafés may not yet be feeling this crunch on the business by the affordable mobile internet service by the telcos. The current prices of smartphones are not that affordable yet to many people so ownership of the device is still low nowadays. Factor in the fact that playing games and watching videos on small screens are not as enjoyable compared to the LCD monitors of desktop PCs and we can say that there will still be those who will do their internet activities in i-cafés. However, the picture will change and mobile internet access may really pose threats to i-café business when tablet PCs become available at affordable prices in the near future.