Twenty years ago, the internet wasn’t widely accessed and paid subscriptions required per-minute user charges. Only a handful of portal sites existed and connectivity was largely done through dial-up. Pages loaded slowly, with pixels popping-up across monitors in clumps. Email was gaining ubiquitous use, but there was no real connection between users.
Today, Wi-Fi abounds, with practically every eatery allowing patrons to connect. Retail stores, churches, and even grocery stores also have Wi-Fi.
Since January of this year, the number of smartphones has increased by 9 million and the number of tablets by 18 million, with Samsung and Apple dominating those categories. Desktop and laptop computers are in nearly every household, accounting for 93 percent of internet connected devices–a number which remains virtually unchanged over the past quarter.
However, desktops and laptops are losing their market dominance, with the combination of smartphones and tablets exceeding the installed base of computers, according to a study conducted by the NPD Group, a business market information and advisory service.
A similar report, conducted by Pew Research, found that American teens are leading the trend in accessing the internet via mobile devices. About 37 percent of teenagers own a smartphone and 50 percent mainly use their smartphone to connect to the internet.
In the first quarter of 2013, smartphones have grabbed more market share in internet connected devices, rising from 52 percent up to 57 percent. Tablets have exploded in the same time frame, increasing their market share from 35 percent to 53 percent.
“It’s hard to believe that tablets and smartphones are still somewhat in their infancy. But as we have seen in just the past few months, there is significant potential for this market to develop further,” John Buffone wrote in a statement. Mr. Buffone is the director of devices for NPD Connected Intelligence.
The tablet market is forecast to outpace PC sales this year, with an expected shipment of 240 million. An estimated 207 laptops will be sold this year by comparison.