According to PC Magazine, citing data from Ender’s Analysis, 2014 is the year we will see the finalization of the sea change that’s been underway since the introduction of the iPhone. Portable, handheld devices will outpace PCs as the internet access devices of choice.
Hardware and app developers have long predicted the “tipping point” in social media and internet browsing as the shift from desktop and laptop to handheld. Applications, some many generations into their evolution, have sought to be ready so that when the shift is complete, they’re in possession of their highly specialized bit prime internet real estate.
Someday, smartphones and tablets may render the PC obsolete, but with the continual shift to cloud-based computing and large data caching, it seems unlikely to occur in the very near future. What the smartphone will do (has done) is allow a level connectivity that science fiction writers have pondered for more than a hundred years. It is that connection, a constant stream of knowledge between people, that experts see as driving the trend.
It is the shift in thinking, from singular usage to complete integration—connectivity—that has driven the increase in smartphone and app use. While teenagers laugh that Facebook is a ghost-town and Instagram is the place to be, Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg in fact again proved his prescience by forcing the social network through a painful series of less-than-usable apps. Now, the networking behemoth has more users than nearly any mobile application, and is still expanding.
Google has proven that cornering the mobile app market is the key to internet success in the coming years. By purchasing YouTube, launching Google +, upgrading Gmail, and completing the beta testing on Google Glass, the firm moved so far beyond their initial search engine they are almost unrecognizable. Apple, of course, has expanded and maintained its lucrative reach, and is the architect of connecting applications, devices, and people with its products.
What all of this means for the average consumer is yet to be fully understood, but one thing that’s certain is that Android and iPhone technology will be leading the next wave of computing.