The ubiquity of smartphones is nothing new. The do–it–all nature of the device in your pocket has been known for years and has become something which almost every adult in the UK relies on.
But new figures from Ofcom throw this state of affairs into even sharper relief.
The most telling stat from the regulator’s research into web use in 2014 shows that for the first time in the UK, more consumers are using their smartphone to access the web compared with other devices.
33% said they used their smartphone as their primary method of getting online. 30% said they used their laptop.
Ofcom, quite rightly, has called this a ‘landmark’, with the mobile revolution now so entrenched that habits are unlikely to change for some time.
A lot of this is down to the boom in 4G. 2014 saw 23.6 million use 4G mobile data, with 90% of the country now covered.
Faster access to the web means it’s easier to stream movies and music, download apps and generally waste time browsing.
The improvement in ancillary smartphone features is also aiding their boom.
The same Ofcom research found that 60% of adults used their smartphone as their primary camera.
The quality of phones on cameras, both front and back, is astounding and every bit as good as a basic digital camera.
Chuck in the ability to quickly upload to social media and it’s no surprise that more and more people are ditching their old compact snappers.
What smartphones do better than laptops and tablets is bring everything into one easy to use package, one that every kind of user can get to grips with.
Larger screens and ever improving apps mean they’re always going to be more desirable than a laptop or tablet.
Perhaps the most telling part of the Ofcom report focuses on wearables. It says less than 5% own a smartwatch and while it predicts a rise, the fact is that a lot of these devices are simply smartphone extensions.
What Ofcom’s wider smartphone usage stats show is that users prefer a device that does everything in one place.
Smartwatches by their very nature break out of that mould, cutting down on their allure to the average punter.
That may change. But for now it is abundantly clear that smartphones are going to be the dominant device of the second half of the decade and beyond.
Tablets and laptops have their place, but ever more powerful, pocketable devices will rule the tech world for many years to come.