Remember last November, when Mary Meeker presented at the Web 2.0 Summit that smartphones would exceed PCs in the number of shipments in 2012? That’s been revised today at Google’s Thinkmobile conference, where Meeker and Matt Murphy predict smartphones to surpass PCs sometime this year. When tablets are factored in, that tipping point comes sooner than later.
The iPad has far and away exceeded the number of shipments of its mobile predecessors in their first 3 quarters, and Apple’s first 10 quarters of App sales completely decimated the first 10 quarters of iTunes music, movies, and video. With apps, games, and social networking far outpacing email and phone calls, mobile data traffic is expected to grow 26 times over the next 5 years.
Mobile apps are the driving factor in both smartphone adoption and mobile data traffic. This is not only a win for consumers, but also businesses, as Meeker and Murphy touch on the huge increase of in-store foot traffic due to mobile shopping apps and location-targeted ads and coupons. They also point out the growing revenue of virtual goods, especially through in-App commerce and built-in billing. As they say the trends to watch for are faster connections and devices, more affordable rates, more mobile apps and ubiquitous computing, a question they don’t touch on is how this will affect our nation’s already overtaxed networks.