Since the release of the iPhone and the subsequent appearance of the first Android devices, experts have predicted that mobile devices would become the leading source of Internet connectivity. According to recent data, this threshold has just been passed.
The rise of mobile devices, and decline of PCs
According to Com-Score, mobile devices are now responsible for 55 percent of Internet traffic. Mobile Internet access has been rising slowly but steadily, and most believe the increase will not stop within the foreseeable future: More growth is expected in the coming years as mobile devices continue to rise in popularity.
As expected, PC and laptop sales have dropped considerably as well. As mobile devices become more capable, they are better able to fill roles previously only attainable on traditional computing devices. Furthermore, app development has improved as well, and the typical mobile app is now comparable to standard laptop and desktop apps.
Browsing vs. apps
The Com-Score data did yield some surprises. Mobile operating systems carry capable web browsers, and most popular sites are able to function well on mobile devices. However, only eight percent of web traffic comes from mobile browsers, and this number has risen only slightly over the years.
Desktop and laptop browsing has dropped, but not among people who browse the web from mobile devices. Instead, the major shift has come from increased use of mobile apps. Today’s apps are far more capable than those of the past, and they account for 47 percent of Internet connections.
This number surprised many experts who assumed that mobile browsers would lead the charge.
Why mobile users don’t browse much
This development is due to the fact that mobile browsers lack the capabilities of desktop and laptop browsers. Websites are designed for large screens, and even the largest tablets feature smaller screens than typical laptops.
Smartphones are even smaller: 3.7-inch screens are still common. Modern websites can scale effectively, but small screens simply lack the real estate to handle most websites.
Mobile devices also lack keyboards and, more importantly, sophisticated pointing devices. Touchscreens have improved, but they still lack the accuracy of mice and other devices.
While it’s possible to connect keyboards and cursor devices to tablets and other equipment, most users rarely turn to them. Desktops and laptops are far more capable devices for web browsing than smartphones and tablets.
The rise of apps
Mobile apps, on the other hand, give users great interfaces that perform the same tasks as websites. People who use Facebook’s mobile app find that accessing the website through a mobile browser offer an inferior experience.
Because of this, designers for social media websites and other popular online platforms are focusing heavily on mobile app development. This trend will surely continue in coming years.
HTML5, which has been in development for years, will make browsers even more programmable. These technologies might provide the key for mobile-friendly web apps.
The only downside to the rise of mobile apps is their side effects. Drivers are increasingly diverting attention from the road to their mobile device to check texts, emails, and other mobile content. This trend, especially prevalent among teen drivers, is one of the leading causes of car accidents.
Nevertheless, Internet connectivity, is, on the whole, a boon for society, technology, and quality of living. The rise of mobile apps have brought that boon to reality.