Australia has always been an important market for every area of tech. It’s a nation of first movers who are always ready to try new things, with a tech-ready infrastructure. Also, as a relatively small market – at 25 million, the entire country’s population is less than that of some US states –it is perfect for beta testing or putting out new tech products on limited release.

Mobile technology is one of the most important areas of tech, one that has evolved beyond recognition over the past 40 years and has transformed the way we live and work.  Australia’s mobile industry has undergone significant changes over the years, with evolving consumer demands driving ever more radical innovation. It is often the case that what starts in Australia soon reverberates around the rest of the world, so the evolution of Australia’s mobile industry is something that is relevant to everyone, wherever they might call home.

From fashion gadget to primary communication tool

When Australia launched its first mobile network in 1987, nobody could have guessed what was in store over the next three decades. In the early days of analogue, actually making a call made mobile look like a step back in technology compared with landlines.

The establishment of digital networks in the 1990s improved both call quality and coverage. This boosted the popularity of mobile handsets, and also opened up new possibilities for them. SMS messaging took off like wildfire and with handsets getting smaller and cheaper, suddenly everyone wanted one. Digital connectivity also introduced the possibility of accessing the internet. Those early WAP connections were horribly slow and awkward, but they served as a precursor to today’s smartphone functionality.

The first iPhone heralded the real transformation of our handsets from fun accessory to something we couldn’t live without. At about the same time, landline usage started to dwindle, leading to the situation we see today where many homes and office desks do not bother with a landline at all.

Key demands in the modern age

We don’t just rely on our phones as phones. For many of us, our phone is also our gateway to the internet, email, video conferencing, banking, watching movies, playing games and taking photographs. We use our phones to order groceries and to pay for coffee, to wake us in the morning and to lull us to sleep at night. In 2016, a man went to Las Vegas and married his phone – the biggest surprise is that everyone was so surprised.

New technologies and features are constantly emerging that either enhance the experience or add whole new areas of functionality. VR and AI are two that are currently getting a lot of attention. Who knows, with the first, the guy who married his phone could have saved himself a trip to Vegas. With the second, the phone could have divorced him the next day.

Fast and safe payments for Australian casino fans

One of the most important, but potentially contentious, areas of technology is in the payments arena. There are dozens of scenarios where we might make online payments, but given its popularity in Australia, the ever-growing online casino segment is a good example.

Australian gamblers went online in their droves in 2020 and 2021 for obvious reasons, with the number of mobile casino users in the county increasing by 50 percent in a matter of months. Transferring money safely is less of an issue than transferring it fast for casino users. We have become blasé that as long as we don’t do anything stupid, online transfers are as safe as anything – probably safer than walking out of a real casino at 2AM after a few vodka martinis with $2,000 cash sticking out of your back pocket. The issue is that at a real casino, you can cash in your winnings instantly. Payout speeds for online casinos vary according to the method but can take days. See for a few real-world examples from different Australian online casinos. 

Looking ahead

If you looked at that list of payment methods closely, you’ll have noticed that crypto blows other methods out of the water in terms of speed. It is also the most secure payment method possible, and signposts at least one important direction that future evolution will take.

Blockchain is another new technology that is evolving just as fast. As it collides with mobile innovation, and with areas like AI and VR already in the mix, who’s to say where this combined technology will lead us in the future?