The end of telephony as we know it?

This morning’s Observer column

You know the scenario. For years, nothing much seems to be happening. There’s a lot of excited muttering among geeks about a particular technology, but no evidence that would compel a sensible man in a suit to pay attention. Standard market research, for example, fails to detect any important trend. Consumers profess complete ignorance when approached by persons with clipboards. The graphs meander along, hovering just above the X-axis like the Donegal mountains seen from a distance – sometimes rising slightly, sometimes falling a little, but essentially not going anywhere.

Then suddenly one day all hell breaks loose. What looked like the silhouette of foothills has abruptly turned into the vapour trail of a rocket. The graphs – of take-up, media column inches, consumer adoption – have gone through the roof. Now the aforementioned suits are hollering from the same hymn sheet: ‘What the hell is going on?’