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The Whole World in Your Pocket

Article published
13.9.2013 at 05:39
Your mobile phone can bring the world to you, at the same time taking you to thousands of worlds.

My two-year-old daughter slides my smartphone open with one tiny finger and starts deftly flinging Angry Birds everywhere. They are not always directed toward pigs, but close enough.

I had plenty of games back when I was a little girl, even some electronic ones. We played Nintendo games at home, on the television screen, up to the moment the Game Boy was launched.

Then that boy followed me everywhere, but the experience was still a far cry from today's gaming hyperspace, with virtually limitless possibilities just a download away, all on our mobile phones.

The real world too is very different today, even though my childhood was not that long ago. I got to go on my first trip abroad when I was three, while my daughter has already been outside of Finland five times! Today airlines compete in their services and pricing, bringing even the most far-flung long-haul destinations within the reach of all of us 'commoners'.

I can organise my trips from the comfort of my armchair: just grab a tablet or smartphone, find the right application, and book.

I can scroll through other travellers' tips and reviews, compare prices, look at photos, and get a feel for my destination. The world has come to my home.

I would never have believed information technology could be this easy to use and such an integral part of everyday life: The top gift of Christmas 1995 was a mobile phone, a fairly good-sized early Nokia. It didn't exactly fit in my pocket but was still handy to carry around. It also irreversibly transformed my expectations of how soon my family and friends would get hold of me: right away.

Ten years later, when I was at university, computers were already part of everyday life. Now, as professionals in various fields, my university mates and I have networked further, and both Facebook and LinkedIn have dedicated 'apps' on my smartphone screen.

In addition to those of friends, many other kinds of worlds populate my phone, thanks to the Internet: those of films, music, games, ... And if I want to find out what's happening in the big wide world – for example, how the world's fastest man, Jamaica's Usain Bolt, is doing – I only need to open Twitter, where I can follow Usain's tweets!

Conversely, when I'm abroad, I can carry my home country and city on my phone with me. I can keep an eye on what's going on at home while collecting photographic souvenirs from my travels with my phone.

One screen, hundreds of pages

The US-based, the world's biggest online shop, announced in 2011 that it was selling more e-books than traditional printed volumes. Amazon's e-book bestseller list changes by the hour, but for a sense of it, these are some of the best-selling e-books earlier this summer:

  • Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
  • Inferno, by Dan Brown
  • And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini
  • The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough

Life as a game and games as business

In 2009, Finnish game company Rovio published their Angry Birds game, which since then has been downloaded to mobile phones and tablets more than 1.7 milliard times.

Another Finnish success story is that of Supercell, whose popular game Clash of Clans has players building villages and leading their troops to fight other clans. The farm-themed Hay Day is another of their popular games.

Both games are free, but once they are downloaded, the gamer can spend money to attract new troops or fertilise the crops. Supercell had zero turnover as recently as 2011, but now they are making roughly a million Euros a day. Their office in Helsinki has employees from 21 countries.

A downward trend in CD sales but not for music listening

In 2003, Apple launched their online music shop, the iTunes Store, offering not only low prices but, for the first time in such a big scale, an opportunity to buy individual tracks instead of entire albums.

A user could download a track for 99 cents or an entire album for $9.99. By 2008, the iTunes Store was the biggest music reseller in the US.

The Swedish Spotify is another company that is shaking up the music-business world. Its users listen to music streams over the Internet. In Australia, the US, and many parts of Europe, Spotify is available in a free-to-use, advertising-funded version wherein some adverts are interspersed with the tracks.

And when it's time to go

What time is my flight again? Visit  our My Flight  page, simply input your destination or flight number and get the latest information about your flight schedule and tips on how to spend time at the airport.

Go to My Flight

You can also download the Helsinki Airport App to your smartphone.


Text: Tiia Soininen
Photos: Rovio, Nintendo, iStockPhoto, Wikimedia