Good-bye Desktop, Hello Smartphone?

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Last month blogger Joe Wilcox asked a bold question, “Will the smartphone replace the PC in 3 years?”
Part of the answer to the question comes in the form of a new report by a trio of Morgan Stanley analysts that charts the most important online trends and given us a glimpse at the possible future of the internet. The report, presented in April, is getting lots of attention, generating no small bit of excitement for smartphone users (lovers) everywhere.
The report suggests a dramatic shift toward mobile web — think iPhone, Kindle and the like — that’s already begun to take off. The analysts believe that if the current rate of change and adoption continues, the mobile web will be bigger than the internet at the desktop by 2015. Just five years from now.
While this might seem a pretty startling declaration, it’s actually backed by other data, including a IDC forecast released in December 2009.

Among some of the other key findings of the Morgan Stanley report:

  • 3G access is a key part of success of the mobile web, by 2014, 3G penetration will be: 100% in Japan, 92% in Western Europe, 74% in North America, 40% in Eastern Europe, 37% in Asia Pacific, 35% in Middle East and Africa, and 17% in Central and South America.
  • mobile e–commerce is growing faster than online e-commerce
  • social network use has already beaten email use with FaceBook and YouTube getting the most attention
  • 48% of all Internet users come from 5 countries (Brazil, China, India, Russia and the U.S.).
  • Video accounts for 69% of mobile data traffic.
  • Apple and Android platforms are gaining in the mobile OS market, while Windows Mobile, RIM and Palm decline.
  • More and more users are accessing the social web from a mobile device.
  • If Skype were a telecommunications carrier, it would be the world’s largest, currently having 521 million registered users.
  • Games are bigger than any other app category — both for the social web and for mobile devices.
  • Real-time technology and location-based services are expected to drive mobile retail.
  • The average iPhone user only spends 45% of his on-device time making voice calls.

Naturally advertising on these devices will be something every business owner will need to consider. Just as you think about promoting yourself on the internet today. There are two types of mobile advertising, the text message (we’ve talked about this before) or an ad that appears as part of results from a mobile search engine. As you can imagine, there’s a log to know about how mobile advertising really works, so like anything, you’ll need to do some homework. It might also make sense to invest in experts to do the work so you’re more likely to see a solid return on your investment.
So… it might not be long before we’re depending on handy little smart phones to do lots more for us. You can’t beat the convenience in a busy world, though I’m not sure that having a phone that can run apps and surf the web (the screen is still tiny) is all that vital to my life… and yet there was a time when I could leave my house without a cellphone in hand.
Something to think about.

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