Adapting to a smartphone world

In just a very few years smartphones have replaced a number of old, traditional promotional products.

While there is still a place for some traditional uses, demand has diminished for roadmaps, planning calendars, disposable cameras, calculators, address books, dictionaries, notepads, timers, recording devices, bubble levels and more. In a number of ways, smartphones are more convenient than computers. Even recent tech products like USB hubs and memory sticks have taken a hit as phones have opened the world to more cloud use.

What is left in the promotional products world is a great opportunity to build on the popularity of phones. According to a study done in early 2015, 68% of Americans use smartphones. That was almost double the figure of four years earlier. Today even more smartphones are in use and users have expanded their embrace of phone features.

So, let’s consider a few options:

Car chargers and wall chargers:

Often forgotten in airports, rental cars and motel rooms, these are the most common devices for keeping cellphone users on the go. Charger users need to supply their own phone cords, another promotional opportunity. Confirm that charger output is adequate for your device, some are totally unsuitable for phones and especially tablets.

We break down these different chargers by their capability for you. You can search for a tablet powered model, a smartphone friendly charger, or need a charger for smaller devices, you can find one.

Portable chargers:

Also known as powerbanks, these lithium battery devices give users extra time to call you and place orders. These are a last resort because people don’t always keep them charged and often we forget where we’ve put them. This is another device whose output should be checked to see that it matches your phone’s needs.

Screen cleaners:

There is great shame in having a fingerprint-smeared touchscreen in public. Coming to the rescue is the polyester microfiber cloth formerly limited to cleaning lenses. These range from fingertip size to something approaching a hand towel in size. Cleaning cloths are easy to lose, but it is even easier to have a ready supply of imprinted designs on hand.

Styluses (or styli if you prefer):

This is another weapon in the anti-smear campaign. Once a stand-alone item, they have been melded into many pen options. These range from simple silicone tips, to longer lasting fiber tips to active tips with electronic features.

Touchscreen gloves:

In colder climates, unheated offices and for those with poor blood circulation, these gloves have two or three fingertips on each hand with a capacitive surface. This is an added feature for those who wear gloves anyway. And, no smear.

Earbuds, headphones and speakers:

Phones are the boomboxes and Walkmen of yesterday. But, this is an area in transition. Once universally employing the old standard 3.5mm stereo plug, we have moved to Bluetooth® wireless dominance. Nearly all speakers use Bluetooth® technology with headphones and earbuds quickly moving in that direction. It is a great time to take advantage of this transition.

Phone holders:

A wide category with everything from desktop holders to items that suspend your phone from the car’s air vent. Some include desk organizers. Some have a soft surface that doubles as a screen cleaner. Armband phone holders are a big hit with the fitness crowd. There are many options, take advantage of them.

Phone wallets:

These adhere to the back of the phone with an adhesive that won’t permanently mar the phone. They can be used to hold a couple of cards and maybe a key or change.

Phone cases:

Phones are becoming more rugged, but a good phone case provides an extra layer of protection. Some even make a moisture-sensitive phone waterproof. Some include screen protectors. Cases are customized for each phone model.

Selfie stick:

Hugely popular as a way to get everyone together in a group. Some selfie sticks depend on the phone’s camera timer and others are like a remote with an activation button on the handle.

Lens expanders:

A lens addition can provide telephoto or wide angle capabilities to a lens. These are universal items that clip to a phone. Quality may vary.

Virtual Reality (VR) boxes:

A VR box can be as simple as cardboard or a rugged plastic. Placed over your eyes, a phone is added to allow display of 3D images and play of virtual reality games. This novelty is growing in awareness and has become a great booth magnet at trade shows.

What’s in Store for the Future of Smartphones

A whole range of other items have added phone features. These include backpacks, portfolios, hoodies and jackets with convenient phone holders including audio ports.

The future holds even more possibilities. NFC (Nearfield Communication) is another wireless option that may grow. In some places NFC is used to pay for vending machine products, as well as connecting to speakers. NFC compatible speakers are available today.

Wireless charging devices may be consolidating into a more universal standard. Expect to see more of these products.