While the 2000s were the first years to bring smartphones to the mainstream, it was the 2010s which let them flourish. From small but convenient forms of communication, mobiles branched out into music, video, gaming, and more. Looking at the shape of mobiles today, as well as some key statistics, we want to make the argument that the 20s could be the decade where mobiles achieve near-complete dominance.
On the Web
In 2013, a survey in the US revealed that around 19% of adults used mobiles as their primary internet device. By 2019, that proportion had risen to 37%. This proportion tended to be higher among younger users, but all age groups experienced an upward trend. While cultural differences might indicate a slight shift of these proportions in the UK, a similar increase is predicted to hold.
The reason for this move away from desktop and laptop systems is twofold, including both an increase in mobile coverage and improvements of the user experience. While 5G networks might not yet be standard, 4G is practically everywhere which, combined with better at-home Wi-Fi, gives far easier mobile internet access.
The recent big leaps of technology in music originated in MP3s. Players like the iPod, while huge hits before 2010, are now obsolete. Apple’s revenue illustrates this trend, wherein 2006 the iPod accounted for around 40% of its yearly revenue. By 2014, iPods, usurped by the iPhone, had dropped to 1%.
Adding to this was the arrival of streaming services like Spotify and lowering data costs. Post-2020, these systems are ridiculously cheap and accessible, making them a more preferable option to the alternative of physical audio sales.
In 2019, the total worth of the video gaming market was estimated at $152 billion. Of this, 45% came directly from mobile games. Couple this with the major developers like Epic and Activision throwing their hat into the mobile ring, and we have a gaming explosion like few before.
Outside of video games, other contributions on this front have come from online casino sites. Another area formerly confined to computers, modern online casinos have been huge hits on mobile devices, with the total market expected to be worth $103 billion by 2025. If you visit this site for a general review of the Leo Vegas casino, the reasons become clear. All of the games, bonuses, loyalty programs and more operate perfectly on mobiles, with the advantage of simple and efficient controls. The need for comparison sites such as this shows how competitive the industry is.
As of 2018, video streaming services officially surpassed cable in worldwide profit. Lead by Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, these systems offered on-demand choices that traditional methods couldn’t match. Netflix alone has seen a constant rise in profit for every year since 2007, bringing in $20 billion in 2019.
Combining with the convenience of mobile platforms has created an exodus away from televisions, in what is again a growing trend. Rather than being tied to a single device and room, these systems on mobile let you get what want when you want. This has left many viewers happy to throw off larger screens for a mobile experience.
Looking at these previous developments, the idea that mobiles could take off as one centralised entertainment device is hardly a controversial one. For web surfing, music, gaming, and video, mobiles combine everything we want into a tiny system. With the devices growing ever more capable, and the prices of entertainment packages lower than ever, the coming decade looks bright. As for what this could mean for other technologies, that’s a complicated question for another day.