Are we at a tipping point with mobile?

12 years ago   •   2 min read

By Marcia Kadanoff

Some people seem to think so … especially now that smart phone penetration in the US has overtaken feature phone penetration for the first time. This means that we should all stop developing for the desktop web and start developing for the mobile web exclusively. Right? Well not exactly.

A careful review of the data suggests this is premature in most geographies, including the US. There are exceptions of course, for example if your company makes mobile applications for a living and sells them only through the Apple, Android, or another type of storefront like these. Then having a desktop website may not make sense. But for most of us the desktop web remains our publishing platform of choice, the place we publish content first, and then use responsive design and/or other methods to make some or all of that content available on mobile.

Here’s the research I looked at that led me to that conclusion:

Summary of Learning

We are not yet at a tipping point where it makes sense to develop for the mobile web ONLY and forego developing content for viewing from a desktop computer. The major issue seems to be China and India, both of which are large markets, both of which are rapidly adopting smart phones, both of which are putting in the infrastructure to support always on and high-speed networks. However, the low-end of these markets remains on feature phones. What this means for your content development needs? It depends on who and what you are targeting. For the next 5 years (at least), we expect to see content developed for the desktop web AND the mobile web. Not for the mobile web alone.

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