Upwardly Mobile: The Smartphone Revolution

In the first of two blogs focussing on smartphones, we look at the history and growth of this relatively modern phenomenon.

In the beginning

The personal computer market took thirty years to reach its peak, creating a societal paradigm shift comparable to the industrial revolution: The digital revolution. With the addition of the internet in the early 90’s, access and sharing of information of any kind was possible to anyone. The advent of Web 2.0 in the early 2000’s ushered in what was termed the ‘democratic web’: Online forums, blogging platforms, and later social media, allowed anyone with any (or no) technical background to bring their thoughts, opinions and even holiday snaps, to millions of potential readers.

mobile game changer

The real game changer

However, the real societal shift has been the introduction of the mobile web. From its humble beginnings as WAP (Wireless Application Protocol), the mobile internet is now the preferred method of consuming websites and apps. The smartphone revolution that began in 2007 with the launch of the Apple iPhone has had a profound effect on the way consumers use the web, however this change can only really be measured retrospectively, and with a healthily amount of hindsight.

Ch-ch-ch changes…

These changes happened so rapidly that businesses of the time were slow to keep up. Where businesses were discussing the need for a “mobile” strategy in 2014, there is an argument that they should have in fact been discussing a “mobile first” strategy.  There was (and still is to some extent) also a misunderstanding that the mobile experience should exactly mirror the desktop experience. This porting of a large screen site to a small screen seldom yielded satisfied users, but fundamentally missed the point that the way people use mobile phones is different to desktop devices.

Time is of the essence

Within seven years of the introduction of the first iPhone, over 50% of all internet sessions were conducted on mobile devices, and sales of desktop/laptops have been in decline ever since. Nowadays, the average time on a smartphone is around three hours a day, which increases dramatically when taking into consideration consumers under the age of 18. With this trend only likely to increase, the thing to remember is that as with everything in business, the truth is much more nuanced and depends on the nature of your user base.

Research has shown that the highest use of mobile devices is in the morning and evening. Morning users will be looking for their social media fix or news, and will predominantly be using apps to consume this data. Conversely in the evening, the research shows that online shopping via both apps and websites are at their height and not only is this on smartphones, but tablets too. And it won’t come as a surprise that between the hours of 9am to 5pm, desktop traffic surges as office-based users log-on.

mobile users and trends

In the second part of our look at the smartphone revolution, we’ll be focussing on users and trends, and how Starbots can help your company deliver the very best mobile web and smartphone solutions to you and your users.


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