To prepare for the Code/Mobile conference that starts today, we pulled together a few stats that provide a snapshot of just how pervasive mobile technology is today.
The number of mobile subscriptions is approaching the number of people on earth. Some 6.9 billion people will have cellular subscriptions by the end of this year — or about 95 percent of the world’s population, according to the International Telecommunications Union. More than half of these subscribers will be in the Asia-Pacific region.
Worldwide smartphone shipments are expected to surpass 1.2 billion units this year, a more than 23 percent increase from just a year ago, based on International Data Corp.’s forecast. Volume will reach 1.8 billion phones annually in four years — with shipments more than doubling within key emerging markets, including India, Indonesia and Russia. By 2018, China will account for nearly one out of every three smartphones shipped.
Google’s Android will remain the market share leader among smartphone operating systems for the foreseeable future, with IDC projecting its share will hit 80 percent this year. Android has been and will continue to be the platform driving low-cost devices. Apple’s share of the mobile market is expected to drop to 15 percent (though IDC’s forecasts were made in May, prior to the record-setting iPhone 6 launch). The iPhone continues to be strong in mature markets, where devices are heavily subsidized, IDC noted. But emerging markets, where affordability (as in, phones costing less than $200) is key, will fuel future growth.
It’s no surprise that mobile Internet companies are experiencing a mini Gold Rush. Private investors pumped a record $19.2 billion into these companies over the last 12 months, according to the latest research from Digi-Capital. Big money flooded into mCommerce ($4.2 billion), travel and transportation ($3.3 Billion), utilities ($1.8 billion) and games ($1.1 billion). But 10 other sectors also raised more than a half billion dollars each — spanning the gamut from food and drink to messaging and more.
The explosion of mobile devices is revolutionizing entertainment. Nielsen reported a 53 percent spike in digital viewing over the last year — and it’s not just teens and young adults staring at their smartphones. Mature viewers, including 35- to 49-year-olds and those ages 50 to 64, showed a “marked” increase in digital viewing. Our love affair with the smartphone is cutting into the time spent listening to the radio or watching TV.
Android phones captured nearly 58 percent of mobile traffic (and 41.8 percent of mobile advertising revenue), according to Opera Mediaworks’ latest State of Mobile Advertising report. But Apple’s smartphones and tablets represent more than half of revenue (51 percent) and a disproportionately large 48.5 percent of mobile video viewing.
Bigger is definitely better when it comes to smartphone screen size. Tablet-sized phones — those with screen sizes of five inches or larger — account for an increasing amount of mobile traffic in North America, according to Chitika.
While more definitive global research could help pinpoint what people actually do on their phones, a recent survey of U.K. smartphone users found they use their smartphones for 221 tasks consuming three hours and 16 minutes per day.
Social networks command most of our attention on smartphones — though music, video and media have grabbed the top spot in terms of mobile advertising revenue, Opera Mediaworks reported. The small-but-mighty health, fitness and self-help category did the best job of making money on its traffic. Sports, shopping and business, finance and investing also brought in more money compared with their relative traffic volume.
When it comes to mobile applications, the Google Play store logged 60 percent more downloads in the fall quarter than Apple’s rival App Store, according to App Annie. Emerging markets have helped fuel the growth of the Google Play store over the last year. Apple’s App Store, however, held a significant (as in 60 percent) lead over Google when it came to revenue.
Messaging app downloads in Google Play and the iOS App Store skyrocketed, following Facebook’s decision in late July to move all of the social network’s messages to a separate Messenger application, App Annie reported. Hike messenger, which described itself as India’s only homegrown instant messaging app, also contributed to the communication category’s download growth in the Google Play store.
At Code/Mobile this year we have the people who run some of the biggest apps in the world. Here’s a look at where they are now, using information from 7Park Data, which has a panel of millions of iOS and Android users around the world:
Instagram dominated other social media among U.S. teenagers.
WhatsApp has massive penetration — more than 80 percent of all Android users in eight countries use WhatsApp on a monthly basis.
U.S. smartphone users spend more than an hour on YouTube per week.
And now for the obligatory nerd fact: Today’s smartphones pack more processing power than NASA’s Voyager 1 satellite that launched in 1977, explored Jupiter and Saturn and made history when it journeyed into interstellar space. The Voyager’s “master clock” runs at .25 Mhz, according to a spokesperson for the Jet Propulsion Lab. That’s not much computational firepower, compared with the Apple’s iPhone 6’s two “Cyclone” processors, which crank at 1,400 Mhz, or the Samsung Galaxy 5S’s quad core Snapdragon chip, which zips along at 2,500 Mhz.
Update at 9 a.m. This post has been updated to correct data about the number of global mobile subscribers.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.