Mobile commerce is not always defined by an actual product introduced as much as by new capabilities ether delivered or implied within the new products.
This struck me as evident yet again as I watched product after product introduction at the annual CES show in Las Vegas this week.
Many manufacturers clearly save their big bangs for the show and as a result, announcements and introductions can overwhelm any normal day-to-day nuances that may impact commerce.
For example, MasterCard and Samsung introduced their new partnership called Groceries by MasterCard, basically a shopping app for consumers to order food and groceries from the new Samsung Family Hub refrigerator.
Rather than tapping a smartphone, the consumer would tap the new in-home commerce hub of sorts: the refrigerator. The mobile app also could be used, of course.
Aside from the obvious issue of whether consumers will warm to the idea of ordering groceries from their kitchen appliances, the venture points to a potential future direction for mobile commerce. And the mobile payment could still go through the traditional credit card.
And then there is the smartphone itself, a never-ending work in progress.
Huawei, the Chinese electronics company, a powerhouse around the world though hardly a household name in the U.S., introduced some new and very impressive phones.
It wasn’t necessarily the phones that made the point here as much as the capabilities they contain.
Last year at CES, the company showed a phone with such a strong battery life that a Huawei phone could be used to charge another mobile phone. This year, they one-upped that.
This is significant since Huawei is the third largest smartphone maker in the world, after Samsung and Apple. They claimed that by this time next year, they expect to be in second place, presumably replacing Apple, which holds that position now.
One of the two major phone introductions was the Mate 8, a phone with a 6-inch screen, another indicator suggesting that bigger screen sizes for consumers are OK.
But key here is that the phone battery can last for more than two days of uninterrupted performance. Kevin Ho, president of the Huawei consumer handset business, said this is the equivalent of 20 hours of browsing at speeds of 4G. A 30-minute charge provides a full day of usage, he said.
The phone has a fingerprint scanner on the back, which is used to answer calls, take a photo or set an alarm, and with a tap of two knuckles, cropping of videos. A one-knuckle tap provides quick photo cropping, editing or sharing.
The phone is not available in the U.S., though is shipping in many other countries.
But it’s not so much the phone but rather the capabilities it shows are moving to the mobile devices.
The idea of all day or two-day battery life with quick charging can change the experience of many consumers.
Quick access via fingerprint scan, while not new, is expanding for other uses, such as using it to shoot a quick selfie.
There will be more innovations shown as the week goes on at CES and there are sure to be even more indicators to where mobile commerce will be heading.
One thing is for sure; it’s not standing still.