Since attending the Mobile 2.0 conference in San Francisco on Monday, I have been mulling the main thing I learned. The best way I can think of to explain that key thing about mobile today is in the picture above. The mobile today is just like my grandfather’s prized Pope Toledo automobile was in 1905.My father’s father, Dr. L.M. Breck is shown above at the wheel, and his wife Olive Jane, my grandmother, is seated behind him. The couple is showing off their stylish automobile by giving friends a ride. Grandpa’s Pope Toledo was the 17th car licensed in El Paso, Texas. My Dad mentioned the Pope Toledo often over the years, in the context of how proud his father had been of owning the new and wonderful machine.
It is certainly easy to feel the same sort of pride Grandpa did if today you own a sweet mobile like Verizon’s new “Chocolate.” The challenge is to have some long range perspective—especially since things change a lot faster today than the did a hundred years ago when Grandpa was zooming around town at ten miles an hour.
The double perspective for mobiles right now is to know these two things:
1. They are cool, sweet, amazing, huge — the cat’s pajamas!.
2. They are very primitive.
Grandpa only lived until 1932, and did not see the greatest blossoming of automobiles. But our new kinds of “mobiles” are changing much faster. We will see big changes over months and huge changes over just a few years.
For some perspective, you might want to read the following description of the state of the stylishness of the Pope Toledo in 1905—comparing it mentally to the way we now look at the features of today’s sweet mobiles.
Are the kerosene fuel type things on today’s mobiles hopelessly primitive or promises of a brilliant future? How do we get the mobile speed 30 times faster like the auto guys did?
The Pope Toledo was the pinnacle of Pope Automobiles, being outfitted with luxurious amenities and powered by large engines. The early automobiles featured one cylinder engines producing ten horsepower. The Tonneau cover was removable and the brass trimmings gave the vehicle a distinguished and prestigious appearance. There were two forward speeds and one reverse. The steering was on the right and was able to seat four passengers.
The company averaged about 720 vehicles annually. In 1911, 693 vehicles were produced. Their vehicles were fast, reliable, and durable. They were more than a means of transportation; they were distinctive, stylish and luxurious masterpieces.
The headlamps were fueled by acetylene gas while the side lamps used kerosene fuel. These were standard on the vehicles, a feature provided by other automobile manufacturers at an additional price. The styling of the body was elegant while the interior was decorated and adorned in luxurious amenities.