Once upon a time cell phones changed the world. They arrived when we didn’t expect them, and allowed us to do things we never imagined possible. We can quite safely say that our world today (where cell phones have had an influence) bares scant resemblance to the world of 15 years ago.

But people, being who they are, mastered the new opportunities cell phones created and we have individually and collectively pushed cell phone manufacturers and network operators into spaces they once never imagined possible. It’s a lovely example of what we’re capable of with opportunity, resources and a little time to tinker.

FastCompany recently published an article focussed on one cell phone manufacturer, the world’s largest, Nokia. If the article is to be believed then I am incorrect calling them a cell phone manufacturer. They no longer see themselves in that category. As to who they are, not even Nokia is certain?

“Just three years ago, we were competing against Motorola, Sony Ericsson, some Korean players, even Siemens,” he says from his office in Espoo, Finland, just outside of Helsinki. “The competitive environment in the industry at large has changed, and I sometimes struggle to define what industry we are in at the moment and what are the boundaries. But remember, I spoke in 2001 about putting the Internet in your pocket. And now consumers are realizing that these devices are not just for communicating by voice: It is all about information.”

While cell phone companies once significantly impacted how we saw the world, their new task is to take our post-cellphone worldview and re-imagine themselves for the future. That is if they’d like to stay in business.

This article is a great read. One worth sitting through to get a glimpse of a global leader finding their way in a world they’ve had a large role in influencing.

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