What happens to the Web now that smartphones and tablets run the show?

What happens to the Web now that smartphones and tablets run the show?

Everyone knows smartphones and tablets are hot, but guess what? By some reckonings, they've eroded almost two thirds of the Wintel empire.

The Web as we know it may have been born, conceived and improved on computers, but as it turns out, those keyboarded beasts no longer have much of a claim to it. According to a a recent report by analyst Mary Meeker, mobile devices running iOS and Android now account for 45 percent of browsing, compared to just 35 percent for Windows machines.

Mary Meeker 2012 Internet Trends (platform share)

Windows hasn’t dipped so low since about 1985. What’s more, Android and iOS have essentially achieved their share in just five years, and by all reckonings are still in the early stages of their growth.

What’s the message? Mobile is huge, it’s going to get tremendously larger, and will soon become the primary way most people experience the Internet. How did this shift happen, and what does it mean now that more people are accessing the Web through tablets and smartphones than laptops and desktops?

Mobile Internet is becoming the Internet

Smartphones and tablets are obviously the hottest technology products right now, but figures about how significant they have become are daunting. Meeker forecasts the worldwide number of smartphone and tablet users should overtake the worldwide number of PC users next year. That means around the world, more people’s experience of “computing” and Internet technology will come from mobile devices than via traditional desktop or notebook PCs. If forecasts bear out, this shift will not only continue, but accelerate. Based on data from Morgan Stanley and a few assumptions about device lifetime, Meeker estimates roughly 2.9 billion people around the world will be using smartphones and tablets by 2015.

Meeker’s forecast for accelerating adoption seems to be bearing some fruit. Back in May, she found that about 10 percent of global Web traffic came from mobile devices. In this new update, the level has jumped to 13 percent — and that’s just over a period of a few months. Meeker also notes a Nielsen report that found amongst children aged 6 to 12, 43 percent want an iPad and 36 percent want an iPad mini. (The only non-Apple product desired by more in that age group was the Nintendo Wii U; some 29 percent indicated they wanted a tablet “other than an iPad.”) In other words, at least in the United States, children’s formative experiences with technology are increasingly smartphones and tablets, not computers.

Mary Meeker 2012 Internet Trends (global internet traffic mobile)

It is worth noting that those global figures gloss over a lot of regional variation — and those differences can be significant. For instance, in the United States about 78 percent of the population has access to the Internet, putting the U.S. way out in front of most other nations. However, while only about 11 percent of India’s population has access to the Internet, mobile Internet traffic has already eclipsed Internet traffic generated by traditional computers in India. And where in the United States roughly half mobile users are on smartphones, in India that figure is just four percent. In other words, emerging economies like India, China, Brazil, and Indonesia are leading shift towards a mobile-centric Internet.

Mary Meeker 2012 Internet Trends (India PC vs Mobile Internet traffic)

How will the Internet change?

Is it really a big deal if most people’s experience of the Internet and the Web shifts to mobile devices? After all, isn’t much of the promise of the the Internet rooted in being able to access it from anywhere – from any device?

Well, yes. However, Meeker is essentially arguing that the technology industry’s rapid shift towards mobile represents a fundamental shift in the way most of humanity will consider the Internet. Mobile technologies and applications will quickly trump what until now have been mainstream Internet experiences. Mobile versions of innovative technologies – like Siri – are already becoming premiere products and experiences, rather than also-rans and follow-alongs.

What will that mean for the mainstream Internet?

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE: http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/get-used-to-it-mobile-is-taking-over-the-internet/


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