Welcome. We are Aarón Alzola Romero and Elton Barker, from the Open University's Department of Classical Studies. This blog is part of a broader research project exploring the uses (and abuses) of mobile learning in the Arts. Our aim is to examine mobile learning applications, assess their strengths and weaknesses (in terms of user interaction, contribution to learning outcomes, cost and popularity), identify areas of opportunity and challenges in their future implementation and assess the impact that mobile learning solutions have on the delivery of Arts courses.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Mobiles in numbers

A few quick stats about the current state of the mobile industry:

-The global mobile phone user base is growing exponentially
There are approximately 6 billion mobile phone subscribers in the world. It took 20 years to reach the first billion mobile phone users, but only 15 months to reach the last billion users.

-Most mobile phone users do NOT speak English
Many ML resources are created with Western English speakers in mind, but these users account for less than 10% of the global user base. The fastest growing world regions in terms of mobile phone usage are China and India (which, together, make up 30% of the global user base).

-The amount of internet resources accessed through mobile devices is also growing exponentially.
70% of all phones sold in the USA are internet-enabled smartphones (this could reach 90% by X-Mas). Less than 50% of all mobile traffic is voice. 60% of all Twitter traffic and 70% of all Pandora traffic come from mobile phones.

-The mobile phone sector is highly volatile.
Around about a year ago, the word ‘iPhone’ was synonymous with smartphone. In fact, things were looking quite rosy for Apple – the iOS market share had grown by a whopping 115% in 2011. Today, Android has more than doubled the smartphone user base of iOS. Half a million Android handsets are activated every day. Blackberry, the brand that epitomised flashy corporate smartphones merely four years ago, is now looking at a global market share of potentially less than 5% next year.
Image: CC by Irargerich
 What does this tell us? 

  • Most internet resources / services that are not adequately accessible through mobile devices could risk disappearing in the medium / long term. 

  • The global mobile phone user base is enormous, but cultural and linguistic differences make it difficult to create resources that have a global appeal.

  • The demand for mobile resources, including ML, is likely to grow exponentially in the short and medium term.

  • The high level of volatility in the mobile industry means that platform-specific resources (e.g. apps) could have a relatively short shelf-life and limited scalability. Web-based mobile resources might be a more attractive prospect for long-term projects.

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