Since the arrival of iPhone in 2007 and the first Android-powered handset (HTC Dream) a year later, mobile technology has come a long way. In today’s discussion, some interesting trends and facts related to this field have been highlighted.
According to projections, the total number of smartphone users is expected to cross 2 billion by the end of 2015. Within two more years, well over 5 billion people will have mobile devices of their own. Even more remarkably, nearly 85% of all web access will take place via smartphones and handsets. We will here focus on some of the most significant trends in the domain of mobile technology at present:
- Android devices are ruling the market – Apple devices are targeted to premium users in any case, and Android has taken this opportunity to take over the lion’s share of the mobile market worldwide. The total share of Google’s mobile platform is close to a stunning 77% – thanks to the availability of a large number of medium to low-range phones. Blackberry has slacked off following the flop-show of BB Z10, and is struggling to keep pace with Windows Mobile (both register single-digit market share (in percentage)).
- Popularity of mobile apps – As the adoption of smartphones and tablets have grown, so has the demand for apps. In the United States, researchers from the field of mobile app marketing reveal that at least 1 out of every 4 US citizens use apps on a regular basis. One or more mobile applications can be found in the devices of around 16% of all cell phone users in the country. Apps are no longer used as a necessity, people have taken a deep liking for fun gaming apps too!
- Mobile commerce in on the rise – Shopping on the go is the new in-thing, and making mobile payments has become more secure than ever before. Several leading banks and other financial institutions also have dedicated applications, encouraging people to transact more over mobile networks. Convenience and security are the two key factors that are hauling up m-commerce, and within a few years, its volume might surpass that of debit/credit card transactions too.
- Browsing the web – Back in 2008, when the first-generation iPhone had only just made its debut – a measly 1% of worldwide internet usage originated from mobile devices. That figure jumped up to 12% within three years, and is on a further upward spiral at present. As already stated above, software and app developers feel that mobile internet usage would be somewhere around 85% by 2017.
- Burgeoning revenues from app development – Not all of the revenues turn out to be clean profits for mobile app companies – but even so, the rapidly rising returns from this line of business is worth a mention. Overall revenues from Android , Blackberry and iPhone app development jumped by over 70% between 2012 to 2013 – with a similar rise last year as well. In figures, the returns are in touching distance of a whopping $30 million.
- The app download race is hotting up – iOS apps had a healthy lead over Android applications even at the start of 2013. Things have got a lot closer in the last 12-15 months though, with Android in fact inching ahead of Apple ever so slightly (the gap is 2 million currently). Blackberry apps are a distant third – and are not really making any headway.
- Operating on the cloud network – Staying connected while on the move has grown in importance in recent times – so much so that Apple has included high-end iCloud Drive features in its soon-to-release iOS 8. Apps like Dropbox and Evernote, along with default mobile email applications, have made it possible for professionals to monitor their businesses via their mobile handsets. The concept of corporate executives having to sit in front of a desktop computer is gone for good.
- Mobile advertising is witnessing a boom – There was a jump from around $2 billion to nearly $6 billion between 2011 and 2012, in international mobile advertising figures. According to a recent Gartner report, this figure is likely to move beyond $14 billion in 2015. Marketers have started using the mobile platform to promote their products/services in a big way.
- Number of people with mobile handsets – Finding a person without a mobile phone is already a rarity, and it would become even more so over the next couple of years or so. About 7 out of every 10 people in the world will own one or more handsets by the end of 2017. There will be close to 2.5 billion smartphone users at the time – which would be roughly 50% of the total number of mobile-owners.
- Availability of apps on different platforms – Once again, it is a two-horse race between iOS and Android – as far as availability of mobile apps is concerned. Both iTunes and Google Play Store have in excess of 1.3 million applications. Of course, since the approval process is more rigorous for iTunes, the quality of iOS apps is, on average, higher than that of Android apps. It will be interesting to see whether Samsung’s new Tizen platform can mount a serious challenge on either of these two leaders (Blackberry could not, and Windows Phone won’t).
- Asia leads the way in mobile web usage – In terms of mobile advertising figures alone, America might be the market leader – but it is well behind Asia in terms of the volume of internet usage on mobile devices. Smaato reports that the total number of people in the sub-continent accessing mobile web is around 5 times more than that in the United States. Europe, with close to 120 million mobile owners, is yet another big geographical market for mobile marketing.
- Volume of 4G subscribers is expanding fast – The total number of 4G users already stands at over 180 million, and by 2017, one billion individuals will have subscribed to this high-speed network. GSMA Intelligence undertook a survey recently, which showed that 1 out of every 5 people has access to 4G – and this figure would go up significantly too. Asian countries are currently lagging well behind the US and Europe, in terms of presence on the mobile 4G platform.
The overall app download figure from stores is expected to touch 108 billion by the start of 2016 – a welcome piece of news for mobile app developers across the globe. eMarketer studies indicate that the total value of mobile ads would be in the vicinity of $12 billion before this year is out. Mobile technology is on a fast track on the growth path, and it is going to become an even more integral part of our lives in the foreseeable future.