It is reported that the shift from desktop computing to mobile devices is happening faster than previously thought. The rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets represents an unprecedented transformation in the way that consumers might access digital services including the web.
This major change in computing has been driven by the ever decreasing costs of mobile devices. Mobile devices such as tablets, e-reader devices and smartphones are becoming more accessible to an ever increasing consumer base. At the same time devices such as PC's and TVs are less likely to be replaced with consumers moving to a device that they can easily use on the go.
"The average smartphone today has far more computing power than existed in all of NASA at the time of the moon landing in 1969." 1
In addition to their accessibility, the power and versatility of these devices are unparalleled from what we have known in the past. In essence you have the power of a newsroom, a publishing house or your office in your pocket with the ability to reliably interact with each almost instantly.
It then comes as no surprise that while media and communication devices are becoming more mobile so too are many other functions with computing following this trend. It is clear that the desktop is no longer the main platform for content, it is mobile. These "always on" devices offer something that the more traditional desktop PC or TV can't, they are accessible and available almost anywhere, anytime.
Despite the rapid adoption of mobile computing, we are still no doubt still only at the very beginning of this new stage of development. But in this short period of time we have already come to redefine the meaning of the word mobile. Mobile has become a verb and no longer simply refers to a device. It is now the end user that has become mobile, using multiple devices in different places each day to perform different and similar tasks.
It is worth pointing out at this time that the platform is often dictated by the task. Tasks that generally require more time and research are still being done on a desktop PC. You'd be hard pressed to find someone that would prefer to use a tablet to generate a slide show presentation or animated short. The web however is for short bursts of activity where speed and brevity are what are desired.
The shift to mobile web has been rapid but this has simply caused a more fragmented audience. Many of those that have adopted mobile web technology are only now entering this technological space with access finally affordable, while there remain those that are more comfortable in their more traditional web computing space.
It is then quite clear that online publishers, now more than ever, need a flexible method of delivering their content to all platforms. Information needs to be centralised but the delivery needs to be flexible, at times tailored to the device be it a desktop or mobile one. Businesses that fail to evolve with the rapidly changing online market will soon find themselves far removed from it in its entirety.