The Future of Mobile Internet

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Prominent figures in the industry, such as the Google vice president of Global Ad Operations John Herlihy, and UN technology panel member Prof Manuel Castells, believe that the smartphone platform will soon become the premier means of internet access within 5 years. Consequently, the future of the desktop PC looks decidedly bleak, and is facing the prospect of technological obscurity at the expense of technological and social advance.


Castells, a former adviser to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign or 2008, predicts that the number of mobile internet users will surpass those accessing the web via a desktop PC, a swing in internet activity which will result in the irrelevancy of the desktop computer.


According to Herlihy, mobile media allows for universal access to information. The increasing reliance on the ubiquitous availability of internet access – anywhere, any time – alongside the progression of mobile phone capabilities and the development of tablet devices, will eventually result in the absolute dominance of mobile over PC access.


Of course, it is hard to imagine that the PC will become completely defunct, especially in a business environment. A more reasonable eventuality may be an equality of internet access across all media platforms, with the same level of service and usage experienced on mobile and desktop computer screens. A precedent of such a technological shift may be that of the emergence of television and the effects on radio, or perhaps the growth of the mobile phone at the expense of the landline.


The thing to keep in mind here is the resilience of the older technology despite the emergence of newer and sleeker innovations. Admittedly, the device being usurped often experiences a decline in reputation and financial success, and has to re-locate itself within the marketplace in order to adapt to new consumer expectations.


Whatever the outcome of the impending mobile revolution, it is certain that the level of internet related activity being carried out on a mobile device is growing, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. For many people across a range of industries, this is a definite game-changer. For example, standard search engine optimisation techniques will need to take into consideration the differing search habits of mobile users.


According to ComScore, mobile searchers are twice as likely to search for a brand term when Googling on their mobile in comparison with PC searching; the upshot of this is a reluctance to look beyond page 1 of the results. Such trends will become much more prominent in the next few years, as will the general approach to internet activity performed on mobile devices.

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