In the past few months I've had the great opportunity to learn both the iPhone and Android platforms for an App we built for my 9 to 5 job. This was a great new chance to learn brand new languages and frameworks after 8 years of living in the Microsoft world. I'll get to more of the specifics in later posts.
In order to validate some of our platform decisions and the choice to move toward mobile development I did some research and came across some amazing stats.
- According to CITA (the wireless trade association), there are over 285 million wireless subscriber accounts in the US. This is the equivalent of 91% of the US Population with a cell phone in their hand. Granted many folks have multiple cell phone accounts (personal and work), so this is a bit of a misnomer, but still absolutely amazing to think how far cell phones have come in the past decade in the US. (http://www.ctia.org/media/industry_info/index.cfm/AID/10323)
- Nielsen estimates that over 50% of all cell phones will be smartphones by the end of 2011. This is just incredible to think for years I was a lone geek walking around the office with a huge brick on my belt buckle, and now, pretty much within the past 3 years these advanced devices are just about to be the most popular type of mobile device. (http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/android-soars-but-iphone-still-most-desired-as-smartphones-grab-25-of-u-s-mobile-market/)
- The same Nielsen stats point to the iPhone with a 28% share of smartphones, and Android taking 27% of all smartphone sales in the first 6 months of 2010. These 2 platforms make up 50% of all sales for the first half of 2010.
- According to Steve Jobs in his antenna-gate press conference Apple sold more than 3 million iPhone 4's in their first 3 weeks of sales. Eric Schmidt announced at the Techonomy conference that Google has been activating 200,000 Android phones PER DAY as of July 2010.
I think looking through all these numbers, to me, it is staggering how quickly we have adopted the mobile lifestyle. The technology has finally reached a point where battery life matches that amazing power and features of a mobile device. The entry point for smartphones is no longer $500, and often the newest phones run just $99 with a contract, or most frequently $199 for the latest and greatest device.
When I look back over the past year since adopting the iPhone as my primary platform, mobile access has truly become a way of life for me. Rarely do I sit at a desktop computer anymore (except at work where I'm coding all day anyway). Instead most of the time the first place I access information is on my phone or iPad, where I'm not next to a desk or at home.
It definitely gives some food for thought for a "corporate" programmer like myself, where we may lag behind some consumer trends in our day to day work, but where user expectations quickly creep up on us and suddenly we are thrust into entirely new worlds in order to meet our organizational needs.