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Avo Reid

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Decoupling the Web from the Desktop

December 13, 2009

The Mobile Web is on track to expand to twice the size of the Desktop Web according to 'The Mobile Internet Report', released by Morgan Stanley. There are 7 other key themes explored in this report but the Mobile Web growth is worth exploring in more detail as it represents quite an opportunity for mobile internet application developers. 

According to the report, "The mobile Internet is ramping faster than desktop internet did, and we believe more users may connect to the internet via mobile devices than desktop PCs within 5 years."    This finding is also supported by a report released by Deloitte, 'State of the Media Democracy ' which states that  the mobile phone use is quickly becoming the device used to experience the internet for almost half of the population. According to the survey 48 percent of those surveyed have data plans for their mobile phones and 42 percent are using their phones to access the Internet. This shift or decoupling of the internet experience from the desktop to the mobile phone is facilitating new mobile behaviours in search, social networking and0nline shopping.

The Mobile Web has been disappointing and over promised for some time.  Factors such as bandwidth, device capability,  and application technology have each advanced individually at their own pace but never far enough and in a complementary way until now. Now according to the Morgan Stanely report, we are at the vortex of the perfect storm for the Mobile Web, one that has provided the energy for one of the 'most disruptive technology launches ever'.   

The report observes that "the speed with which Apple’s mobile devices (iPhone and iTouch) have ramped – some 57 million old in 28 months – indicates that we are now on the verge of a remarkable transformation in the global information and communications industries."

The environment may have been perfect  for the most disruptive technology launch ever, considering:

  1. Scale (wireless global penetration of 4.1 billion subscriptions, compared to 1.6 billion Internet users),
  2. Accelerating rate of adoption,
  3. Confluence of powerful new technologies, and
  4. New usage models that consumers and enterprises are enthusiastically adopting.

This environment and the perfect storm that is coming is created by 5 trends that are converging according to Morgan Stanley, 3G+Social Networking+Video+VoIP+Impressive Mobile Devices.  The aftermath of the storm will usher in the next new major computing cycle, the Mobile Web.  Assuming tech cycles last about 10 years,  the report claims the next major tech cycle, the Mobile Web, was entered about 2 years ago.  The chronology would be:

  • 1960's Mainframe Computing
  • 1970's Mini Computing
  • 1980's Personal Computing 
  • 1990's Desktop Internet Computing
  • 2000's Mobile Internet Computing

 For mobile application developers and rich internet application developers the perfect storm sets the stage for new and exciting possibilities.



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