In the Asia-Pacific sector, according to statements from a Google executive earlier today, there’s a fundamental change happening in the way residents of that sector use computers. The community is getting them away from conventional computers, shifting more toward mobile devices, sufficiently so that mobile device usage has already overtaken PCs in the Asia-Pacific market.
Managing director of commerce for Google Asia, Aliza Knox, said mobile devices are rapidly becoming the weapon of choice for Internet access, and Google is working to meet that trend head-on.
The numbers are impressive by themselves: 74 percent of searches are done on mobile devices in Singapore, and in Indonesia, 78 percent of Internet users use tablets or smartphones to get online. Singapore and Indonesia, along with Hong Kong and South Korea, already represent higher rates of smartphone use than the United States.
To underscore this point, South Koreans have an average of 42 apps on their phones at any given time, while in the U.S., the average is 23. In Japan, interestingly, the number is 45 apps.
The projections as a result of these numbers are even more impressive: 50 percent worldwide using the Internet by 2015 will be Asian, and their first contact with the Internet will likely be on a mobile device of some kind.
Knox, speaking at the CommunicAsia telecom fair in Singapore, made the point clear: "Asia has an insatiable appetite for mobile."
Considering that, according to further studies Knox cited, "most people" keep at least one mobile device within three feet of them at all times – including one in four who take their mobiles to the bathroom with them and two in three who sleep with them near the bed. A portion also check them an average of 40 times per day.
It's clear that in Asia, mobile is really catching on.
Knox further recommended that companies be ready for this shift, detailing how Google looked to bring in 600 people in the region, and put $700 million in investment into new data centers in response to the trend. Considering the overall dynamic in the Asia-Pacific region, it's not surprising to see more investment going into mobile devices. Mobile devices take up less room and can thus more easily follow a user from place to place. More traditional computers, while certainly more powerful than their mobile counterparts, lack the portability that mobile devices have in spades.
But considering the rise of Apple's MacBook Pro and MacBook Air products, as well as the steadily advancing Ultrabook market, it may be that the traditional PC isn't quite out of the running yet. Though considering the specific demands of the Asia-Pacific market, this could be the start of a major sea change in at least one region.
Whether such a move will carry on past the geographic boundaries of the Asia-Pacific region remains to be seen, but it will indeed be a major shakeup all the same.
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Contributing TechZone360 Writer
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