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Surprise! The Final Mile Does Not Involve Broadband

December 1, 2009

Twenty five years ago, one generally had to find a pay phone to make a call from the road, because mobile phones were nonexistent. For all the talk of cloud computing, the computer and broadband access lag far behind the mobile phone as the world’s primary communication device.

According to ITU, 90% of the world’s population presently has access to cell phone signals, with 60% of the world’s population actually subscribing to mobile phone service today. According to United Nations’ research and Gartner, there will be 5.8 billion mobile subscribers by 2013, of which almost 1/3 will be smart phones. Mobile phones are a ginormous, multi-purpose platform for communication and information.

Let’s put that in perspective. Gartner’s reports indicate there are presently about 1 billion installed PC’s worldwide. With a PC growth rate of 12 – 15% annually, it will take until 2015 to reach 2 billion installed PC’s. In other words, in the future, cell phones will outnumber PC’s by 3:1.

So what does this mean? While important, computers are not the best way to reach global masses. Cell phones are the device of choice to facilitate communications, deliver information and promote commerce. Thus, it is inevitable that cell phone applications will grow exponentially and those applications that are helpful and attractive, regardless of geographic borders, will rule. Some examples of these applications involve language translation, global e-commerce, music and entertainment.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 1, 2009 10:59 am

    Great post Alan.

    With the speeds of the future handsets are coupled even with today’s phone processing power – you will literally have YOUR PC in your pocket. I imagine a future where we will simply “dock” our phones to a mouse / keyboard / monitor, and the phone truly is the computer.

    To put into perspective, my iPhone 3GS 64x the storage of my first PC, 2.5x the processing power, and about 40x faster connectivity than my first modem. =)

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