Posted on: July 19, 2011
The Smartphone Revolution
Posted by: Brett Bisbe
Read time (bolded): 5 minutes
Read time (comprehensive): 3 minutes
There is no question that we are in the midst of a mobile Internet explosion. Smartphones, namely Android and iPhone products, are flying off the shelves in record numbers (not to mention tablets/iPads). The advent of 4G networks, incorporated Flash software, and the ever-increasing app market, people are using their cellphones (if we can even call them that any more) for more than we ever imagined possible.
The numbers are staggering. There are over 4 billion mobile phones in use around the world. Around 25% of them are smartphones. This means a billion people have Internet access in their pockets. This equates to 250 million mobile Facebook users, 100 million mobile Twitter users (that’s 50% of all Twitter users), and 200 million mobile Youtube plays every day. People all over the world are using their mobile devices for games, social networking, news, weather…you name it.
Projections indicate that mobile Internet use will surpass desktop Internet use in the next few years. This comes as no surprise, given the popularity (almost social necessity) of the smartphone, and of course, the ability to use it anywhere and everywhere. Barcode readers and instant Google access allow consumers to do product research in the moment, news apps and games occupy subway riders, sharing photos or tweeting from a social setting is as easy as reaching in your pocket.
The rate of expansion also comes as no surprise. In the era of high-speed desktop Internet and massive social networks – an era where “Google” has become a verb, people the world over are already familiar with online interaction. The slow growth experienced by the earliest Internet providers is essentially the precursor to the rapid growth of mobile Internet. The concepts are the same; the interface is just different.
What are the implications of all of this though? As a culture, it makes us more connected, more aware of what’s going on around us (unless all you can use your phone for is Angry Birds), and it most definitely makes us see the world in a different way. Instead of just making mental notes of unique situations, we instead tweet about it, take a photo, and upload it to Google+!
It also has a way of making us disconnected from the people around us, lost in touch screen euphoria, ignoring the person standing next to you to text someone on the other side of the country.
Mobile Internet has also become the avenue of choice for advertising firms, using “mobile only” promotional campaigns to capitalize on the mobile sensation. We know that advertising trends follow social trends, and that can only mean a continued increase in mobile advertising, whether we like it or not.
This much is clear: mobile Internet access is changing the way we go about our daily lives – the way we socialize, the way we do business. Whether for better or for worse, only time will tell.