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Smartphones On Track To Become Fastest Spreading Tech In History


It seems like not that long ago that smartphones were the exception rather than the rule. In fact, chances are that most of you can remember a time before you could just assume everyone had a mobile phone of any kind. That’s probably because that wasn’t too long ago. As it turns out, smartphones — specifically — are on track to being the most quickly adopted tech in the history of tech.

Trying to figure all this out is a little dicey, because not all the relevant data is in, but you can figure out quite a bit with what we already have. Technology Review’s Michael Degusta put together what data he could get his hands on, and it shows that if things continue the way they have been, smartphones could reach 75% market penetration faster than any other technology ever has.

It’s worth pointing out that while the smartphone is the one in the final stretch for saturation, tablets are looking like they’ll have a pretty speedy run. The modern consumer tablet market, which sort of came out of left field with the introduction of the iPad, has boomed up to 10% market penetration in practically no time at all. It hasn’t reached 40% — the next stage — yet, but its initial adoption run was incredibly impressive.

So, without further ado, here are the charts. Each one shows the length of time it took for each technology to reach one percentage of saturation to the next.

If it’s a little confusing at first, think of it this way: In order to track the total time from 0% to 75%, you have to line up the bars of any one technology from all three of the charts, end to end. So while radio beat smartphones in the sprint from 0% to 10%, smartphones make up for it in the 10% to 40% section.

In any event, it’s all a little unclear because smartphones have yet to reach 75% market penetration, but unless something happens to stop them, they are bound to reach it faster than any other technology. That’s really saying something, considering how long it took, say, telephones and electricity to permeate. Then again, smartphones don’t necessarily require much extra infrastructure over mobile phones in general, which really enables a speedy climb. I hope you love your smartphone; it isn’t going anywhere.

(via Technology Review)

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