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.