Will your smartphone replace your desktop?

mobile phoneComputers are smaller, faster and more powerful than ever before, but other technologies are simply more convenient. Tablets were the first sign that mobile devices could someday eliminate the need for traditional computers. Smartphones were once judged on how small and sleek they were, but recently, phones with larger screens have been in style. So will smartphones someday replace your computer all together? Here’s a peek into the future of smartphones and computers.

 

Smartphone Size

Smartphones are focused on functionality rather than compactibility. Phone manufacturers such as Samsung, LG and Apple have all released smartphones with larger screens which make it easier to type when you text or email. A larger screen also makes reading and watching videos more enjoyable. For instance, the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ has a screen of nearly 6 inches and the iPhone 6s Plus has a 5.5-inch screen. Though both these phones are smaller than a tablet, they’re both larger than conventional smartphones, which at the very least starts the conversation about whether smartphones will someday replace computers completely.

 

Web Traffic

Web traffic is, perhaps, the tell-tale heart that smartphones will someday replace personal computers. A 2014 comScore Report concluded that 60 percent of all web traffic came from mobile devices. Fifty-one percent of that web traffic originated from mobile apps, which means mobile users clicking on links from Facebook, Twitter, and other social network sites, music apps like Pandora or spotify, and text apps such as Whatsapp and Viber. However, the traffic from search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, is a much smaller fraction of mobile web traffic. This suggests that the future of the Internet and computers lies in apps that go viral and then leads users onto the web.

 

Time Spent

While computers are still far more capable than smartphones in terms of the number of tasks they can be used for, for the average user, they are somewhat overkill. Even gamers have found smartphones oftentimes preferable to gaming on computers with far more capabilities. In fact, time spent on smartphones eclipsed that of time spent on computers late in 2013. While many people still prefer web surfing with their laptops or desktops, smartphones came in second at 80 percent of users, while tablets were third with 47 percent of users. While smartphone and tablet use differ, one must only look at the newest line of Kindle Fire tablets to see the how tablets are shrinking while smartphones are growing.

 

The Debate

In the IT section of the country, the mobile versus computer debate has been in question for years. Gartner analyst Van Baker notes that usage patterns show consumers reaching for smartphones most often, but that most trade up to tablets then a laptop or desktop computer, depending on the complexity of their task at hand. While Gartner and other tech analysts hypothesize that all online activity will be conducted on either smartphones or tablets in the not-so-distance future, not everyone agrees. “If Gartner had said ‘most’ online activities, I’d agree, but ‘all’ is too encompassing,” said Jack Gold, an analyst for J. Gold Associates.

While there may be disagreement over this fact, the statistical trends certainly point to a more mobile Internet base, and while smartphones can’t do all a computer can, it may only be a matter of time until they can.

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