We Live In Amazing Times
We live in amazing times. The modern smartphone (really, a portable pocket computer) is only 6 years old. The modern tablet is only 3 years old. Yet the combination of the internet, simplified touch computing, wireless data downloads and the availability of cheap, innumerable applications on demand, has wholly revolutionized what computing is and will become.
Affecting Our Lives
Touch computers are already a pervasive part of our lives:
Affecting Our Lifestyles
The effect on our lifestyles has been even greater:
— 79% of smartphone users have their phone on or near them for all but two hours of their waking day; 63% keep it with them for all but one hour. A full quarter of of smartphone owners couldn’t recall a single time of the day when their phone wasn’t in the same room as them.
— 25% of those aged 12-17 access the Internet “primarily” via a cell phone or smartphone. Among teens with a smartphone, however, 50% access the Internet primarily via the mobile device. Girls are more likely than boys to rely on their smartphone as their primary Internet access device.
Dissolving The Digital Divide
Surprisingly – at least to me – black and hispanic teens are more likely to own a smartphone than their white counterparts. Some feel that the smartphone could be the tool that eradicates the digital divide. In any case, phones are now the new personal computers of our age, allowing the poor and the isolated to enjoy computing power that was formerly unavailable to them.
If, in 2006, you had predicted that individuals would own, not one, but three computers, you would have been laughed at. First, few needed three separate computing devices and second, even fewer could afford them. Yet today, twenty-six percent of consumers in the United States own a laptop, smartphone and tablet.
Let me re-remind you that the modern tablet has only been in existence for a mere THREE YEARS. If 26% of consumers in the United States already own the trio of smartphone, tablet and notebook, then the explosive growth of multiple screen computing ownership is only just beginning.
Touch Computing Is Only Just Beginning
Most technology observers look at phones, and even tablets, as maturing markets. I feel otherwise.
— Phones are just beginning to invade our lives. People who formerly didn’t need a phone – the young, the old, the technologically uninterested – are all adopting smartphones as their go-to computing device.
— People who formerly didn’t have any access to computers – the poor and citizens of third world countries – are also adopting smartphones as their first – and perhaps only – computing device.
— Where we used to own a single family computer, now every member of the family will want to possess their own personal tablet.
— Most people who own a tablet will own a smartphone too, and perhaps a notebook as well.
Our Lives Will Never Be The Same
Most technology observers seem to have a very poor grasp of economics and consumer behavior. They speak in terms of limited resources and assume that technological growth is limited. The truth is that we don’t buy what we need, we buy what we want. And a further truth is that when we want and value something highly enough, we shift our limited resources in order to find a way to obtain it.
In 2006, we only needed a single, cheap desktop or notebook computer. Today we expect and demand access to multiple mobile computing devices.
We don’t NEED tablets, but we WANT them and we’re going to find a way to buy and possess them. And smartphones are rapidly moving from the category of a WANT to something that we both WANT AND NEED in order to merely function in modern society.
Sales of mobile touch computers are about to explode and our lifestyles and our lives will never be the same.