Roger Martin

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What Your Smartphone Would Be Without Patents

Ask yourself for a moment, how does a smartphone fitting in the palm of my hand simultaneously download my emails while I watch high-definition YouTube videos of Felix Baumgartner jumping out of a hot air balloon, even as the smartphone figures where I am, where my work is, calculates the traffic delay and lets me know all this and stock quotes too while I keep watching the videos? I didn’t even mention the incoming text from my workout partner with an embedded picture of the beach where he is and I am not, captioned “WHERE R U?” And how can my smartphone do all that at the same time all my neighbors’ smartphones are using the same finite amount of radio frequency spectrum to accomplish the same tasks while they watch dog-shaming videos? The answer, however mundane it sounds, is as powerful as magic and just as invisible: high-data-rate wireless connections.