Just watched a really interesting talk by mobile guru Ben Evans at Bloomberg’s Year Ahead event in DC last month. You can watch it here on his website: http://ben-evans.com/benedictevans/2014/11/17/presentation-at-bloombergs-the-year-ahead-event
Also, here is an excerpt from the transcript:
For the first time, tech is selling to everyone
The fundamental thing that mobile changes is that, for the first time, the technology industry is selling to everybody on earth….so before mainframes were sold to big computers or PCs were sold to middle class families…mobile phones sell really to the entire population of earth. If you think back to the bubble when we were all feeling bright-eyed and optimistic, we went from maybe 50 million people online to 400 million people online in the course of 5 years (1995-2000) and that felt really exciting, but actually, in the years since then we’ve gone to nearly 3 billion people online, and we’ve gone to over 2 billion people now with smartphones. And in the next five years that will grow to 4 billion online—almost all of that growth coming from mobile.
The Unconnected are Shrinking
The fundamental change that’s happening here is not so much the growth of people who are online but the disappearance of people who are offline. We will go to probably four fifths of all the world’s adult population having a mobile phone, having a smartphone, having an Internet connection....
By 2020 80% of adults on earth will have a smartphone (World Bank)
That means that out of over 7 billion people on earth, and 4.5 billion literate adults, there will be 4 billion people online—4 billion people with smartphones—and that really dwarfs the PC industry in particular consumer PCs, with under a billion. It’s worth thinking also about what we mean when we say phone now….the new iPhone has a CPU that has over 600 times more transistors than Intel’s original Pentium back in 1995..in the iPhone launch weekend Apple sold enough iPhones with enough CPUs that they sold 25X more CPU transistors—25X more computing power in one weekend than were in all the PCs on Earth in 1995!
The utility of mobile increases as income falls
So, everyone gets a pocket supercomputer. You can now get an Android at entry level for about $35. The first thing that all of this changes is the Internet.
More time spent on mobile apps than on all of the web
We already have now a Post-Netscape and a Post-Pagerank world. What I mean by that is that mobile apps are now the majority of all time spent online in the USA—not the majority of time spent on mobile but the majority of all time spent online. So we’ve moved on from the period where the Internet experience was a web browser and a keyboard and that was essentially everything, and we’ve also moved on from the experience of Google being the only way that you’d find things and of Google being a very efficient way to find things, because as these interaction levels change, Google ceases to have the hegemonic power that it had on the desktop Internet….things are going to change….what a smartphone and an app means is going to change…moreover, we have a systemic complexity in the ecosystem because before we had Microsoft and we had the Web browser…now we have Apple and Google, and they both have very strong positions…”