A new report from Cisco underlines the staggering pace at which the world is adopting tablets and mobile computing. Some highlights:
- The number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world’s population in 2012.
- Smartphones, laptops and other portable devices will drive about 90 percent of global mobile data traffic by 2016.
- Last year’s mobile data traffic was eight times the size of the entire global Internet in 2000.
- By 2016, mobile-connected tablets will generate almost as much traffic as the entire global mobile network does in 2012.
Apple’s last quarterly results illustrate the same trend, with iPad sales going stratospheric:
The iPad 3 is rumoured for release on March 7th and will push tablet sales further; based on estimates from screen suppliers it could hit shipment figures of 65-70 million, a big jump even on the phenomenally successful iPad 2.
As tablets and smartphones become more widespread, they also get used more and for a wider range of purposes. The projected rate of increase of data usage in Cisco’s report is just as precipitous:
If you don’t recognise the term ‘exabyte’, it denotes a billion gigabytes. It took until 2004 for the entire internet to reach a monthly data traffic rate of 1 exabyte.
Windows 8 launches this year and there are good reasons to think it may be a strong competitor to Apple, more than Android devices have so far managed. As the biggest OS in the world is updated with a focus on tablet computing, including bringing Office and other productivity apps to a space that so far has been mainly concerned with content consumption, expect another surge in tablet adoption.
More illustrations of the speed of growth of tablet computing:
- The US government encourages schools to adopt digital textbooks; and plenty of schools are responding with bulk purchases of tablets, whether iPads, Windows tablets or eReaders.
- Meanwhile Turkey gets in ahead with a project to provide tablets to 40,000 schools throughout the country.
- iPads are increasingly making in-roads into corporate environments, where once the desktop ruled supreme.
- Apple’s tablets are also being supplied in bulk to British Airways crews and the US Air Force.
- And even young children and babies are getting in on the tablet boom.
- No wonder Apple is now confidently predicting that tablets will overtake PCs in global market share.
As the analysts at TechCrunch put it:
If you’re working on anything in the mobile space and have put off addressing how you’ll meet the needs of the tablet user, you’re already behind. And it goes without saying that if you’re building for the web and haven’t addressed mobile, you’re basically just lost.
And that goes doubly for content providers!