1 Billion Reasons To Use Mobile Broadband


By Bob T. Wilson

As of June of 2010, there were just short of 2 billion Internet users around the world and by the end of 2010, more than 500 million of those Internet users were accessing the Internet using mobile broadband. For the Internet, which first turned on in the 1960’s as a military project, those 2 billion users represent a growth of 444 percent over the ten years since 2000, when the total number of users was ‘only’ 360 million. By the end of 2011, the number of mobile broadband users will have doubled to 1 billion, and to over 3.8 billion by 2015, according to a Sony Ericsson report. This means that by 2015, the total number of mobile broadband users may exceed the total number Internet users, projected to reach its third billionth user by then.

Reasons for the Astounding Growth

The smartphone and the tablet PC are both on the verge of meteoric growth, a statement made against the background of the already impressive growth curve of the smartphone. The consensus is that the tablet PC will supplant the laptop as the primary Internet access device for mobile broadband users, which will happen at around the same time, the projected year of 2015 and is the building block for the future face of the Internet. The Internet is the same medium that was one of the most important in human history, and now will become the primary form of data and information communications for all of humanity. The current world population is 6.9 billion people. By 2015 over 50 percent of humanity will be on the Internet in some form, most of them via mobile.

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The Mobile industry as a Whole

The mobile industry is potentially the largest and most fundamental infrastructure ever created worldwide. It is, in some respects, as vital to civilization as the basic physical, communications, and other infrastructure types are is to our civilization and more so in many ways. This infrastructure is how the people of the future will primarily interact with civilization and is how we will know our world; how we will react to it. Mobile Internet is the next phase in the evolution of the Internet and communication itself. The reason is simple, scale.

A modern iPhone is capable of the same productivity that a desktop computer just a few years old was. The differences between these technologies are the size, weight, and power consumption, all translating to scale. This trend is fascinatingly similar to the natural evolution of living systems and if the analogy is correct, we have only seen the very beginning of the process. Tablet PCs are a natural next extension with improvement in productivity and usability. By 2015, it is difficult to imagine what technological advances there will be presented at the International Consumer Electronics Show for that year. Nevertheless, whatever technology is presented, it will certainly be of a mobile standard and better than 50 percent of the human race will likely be connected and shopping for one. With our ever more mobile population, mobility itself is seen as the primary driver of this growth.

Driving Visions of the Future

The real reason may have more to do with the OLPC project. The brainchild of MIT’s John Negroponte, the OLPC project was an initiative to provide One Laptop Per Child, worldwide. As successful an idea that it was. It is too late to take hold, as the Smartphone is fulfilling his vision, but the real driver is cost and power. Charging a smartphone battery is easier than maintaining power for a desktop or laptop computer, especially in less developed parts of the world. This effectively circumvents the infrastructure barrier to expansion in those markets.

The other fact is that smartphones evolve at a faster rate because of the same issues of scale. This means more competition and much lower market entry costs, even for emerging markets. The convenience of size and mobility means that the device can be moved to the access point and is much easier and cheaper than building a telephone network just to provide Internet to a few members of a small village. The Internet exists, but what is now changing is the ease and cost required to connect.

Before a child entering high school in the US has the chance to graduate college, more than 50 percent of the human race will have a smartphone, tablet PC or, whatever new mobile device may be thought up, in their hands while voicing their opinions, communicating with their governments, shopping, and more importantly, earning money. How many articles on the Internet were written on a smartphone in a small house in rural India? Perhaps more than imagined; the impact of all this on civilization and humanity is difficult to overestimate.

About the Author: Bob T. Wilson is the technology writer at velocityguide.com, a site dedicated to keeping its readers informed of the constant advances in mobile computing technology and

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