Mobile Trends Driving Internet Growth, Changing our World
Apps, devices and connectivity are indispensable to how we live our lives today.
The world is going mobile. Ok, that’s an obvious statement. But think about its significance. Everywhere we go, everything we do, we’re carrying a smart, connected mobile device. Be it a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone, mobile devices have become an essential tool to get where we’re going, to make important decisions immediately, to keep us productive on the road, to make dinner reservations, entertain our kids and even secure our homes remotely. We’re always connected, but we’re only at the tip of the ice berg in terms of how it will change our world.
Presenting to a Stanford University audience last week, Mary Meeker, famed Internet analyst and respected partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) venture capital firm, shared her annual “Internet Trends Year-End Report,” which reveals incredible Internet growth. She estimates the number of Internet users worldwide has grown by eight percent this year to hit an astounding 2.4 billion users. China tops the list with 538 million users, while Iran is the biggest growth engine, up 205 percent. She highlights that the U.S. grew three percent to hit 244 million Web users— 78 percent of the total population.
But if ever there was a doubt about the role mobile plays in our lives, just take a look at the facts Meeker highlights in this report. She spells out how devices and connectivity trends are leading to the complete re-imagination of everything from healthcare and education, to our digital wallets and even smartphones that unlock hotel doors.
Consider her stats:
- Mobile devices now account for 13 percent of worldwide Internet traffic, up from four percent in 2010.
- There are five billion mobile phone users in the world, but only one billion smartphone users—just 17 percent of the global cellphone market and growing by 42 percent a year globally.
- Nearly 30 percent of adults in the U.S. now own either a tablet or an e-reader to access digital content.
- Combined, the global smartphone and tablets installed base is expected to exceed the PC installed base in the second quarter of 2013.
- Handset makers have shipped well over 600 million smartphones that run on the Android operating system, growing six times faster than the iPhone.
Meeker’s presentation validates just how important connected devices have become to keep us productive, entertained and balanced—blurring the lines between personal and work. But another interesting shift that she describes is what she calls the move from an asset-heavy lifestyle to an asset-light existence, largely a result of the cloud. Everything is digital today—our documents, music, images and video—freeing us of physical clutter, and giving way to a “sharing economy.”
Until next year’s report, she acknowledges that the Internet and mobile is in “spring training,” so it’ll be fascinating to watch how mobile experiences, conveniences and efficiencies further alter the way we live our lives, driving additional growth.
What do you think? How has the growth of the Internet and mobility impacted you? Is life easier? What capability are you waiting for?
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