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February 15, 2012 12:45 PM   Subscribe

The number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on Earth by the end of 2012. (Never mind the phone chargers.) By 2016, there will be 1.4 mobile devices per capita.
posted by wensink (26 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Based on phones alone that's already true in plenty of countries. I, as an American, know more people with 2 phones than I do with 0 phones.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:56 PM on February 15, 2012


I wonder what the total would be if you added all the devices already rusting in landfills?
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:59 PM on February 15, 2012


We're all going to need lithium. (And a bigger landfill.)
posted by wensink at 1:00 PM on February 15, 2012


Based on phones alone that's already true in plenty of countries. I, as an American, know more people with 2 phones than I do with 0 phones.

Indeed. For me, the more interesting question is what percentage of the world's population will own a mobile-connected device. I've just skimmed the article, but that doesn't seem to be one of the questions the report is attempting to address. Which is fine.
posted by bardophile at 1:03 PM on February 15, 2012


Here's the link to the full white paper [PDF] and Cisco's own summary page.
posted by bardophile at 1:05 PM on February 15, 2012


A person can only use one phone at a time, so what will all the extra phones do? Obviously, they'll talk to each other out of boredom. And that's how Skynet starts.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:10 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love the SKYNET.

*Eyes glaze over with SKYNET-LOVE*

posted by Skygazer at 1:13 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


By 2016, the average mobile device will own 0.7 humans.
posted by brain_drain at 1:22 PM on February 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


A person can only use one phone at a time

Not true. About 5 years ago I worked in a cafe with a girl who had two, I regularly watched her talk on one while texting on the other.
posted by mannequito at 1:27 PM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


A person can only use one phone at a time

Any event with journalists, lobbyists, or politicians will have people two-fisting smartphones.
posted by The Whelk at 1:30 PM on February 15, 2012


Not exactly multiple phones per se, but it's not uncommon for phones in Asia to have mutliple SIM card slots to accommodate easily switching between different carriers to get the best rates, separate personal/business lines, etc.
posted by kmz at 1:33 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I kind of hope this all just turns out to be a fad.
posted by neversummer at 1:34 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Back in my salad days of IT support back in the '90s I had four pagers. If you included the landline in the apartment I shared with my SO, and the cell phone that my boss said I ABSOLUTELY had to have, as well as my desk line, I had SEVEN FUCKING PHONE NUMBERS.

In this day and age, who needs seven numbers?
posted by Sphinx at 1:35 PM on February 15, 2012


The Whelk: "two-fisting smartphones"

It's amazing how words can be something I'm a fan of individually but in the right combination can turn into an absolutely horrific descriptive phrase.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:37 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dedicating this to all the people who scoffed at phones changing lives some of the most challenging parts of the world.
posted by infini at 1:48 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dedicating this to all the people who scoffed at phones changing lives some of the most challenging parts of the world.

Because what says "February 15" better than "let's all get back to gloating like assholes"?
posted by liketitanic at 1:58 PM on February 15, 2012


I'm not sure this data shows that phones are changing lives in some of the most challenging parts of the world.
posted by brain_drain at 1:59 PM on February 15, 2012


People bought the phones where it was once believed they either could not afford them nor did they need them.

Its February 16th where I am, so that might make it an old gloat.
posted by infini at 2:02 PM on February 15, 2012


People bought the phones where it was once believed they either could not afford them nor did they need them.


Well, it's not clear from the report that this is true, given that the data do not appear to distinguish urban from rural areas, for example. While I'm on board with the thesis that phones have changed lives in challenging parts of the world, I don't see that being addressed at all here. Perhaps I've missed it?
posted by bardophile at 2:13 PM on February 15, 2012


I kind of hope this all just turns out to be a fad.

Seconded. Having multiple phones feels like a complete UI failure to me. I understand reasons for it, but I would hope in a few years ideas like personas show up so a phone can be both my personal phone and my company-issued work phone. Given how forward-thinking and inventive cell phone carriers are, this is probably only months away. Forever.

Never mind the phone chargers

+1. Am I the only one that wants to rip wall warts from the wall when someone leaves one plugged in with no device attached. Also: IT'S 2012 HOW THE FUCK HAVE WE NOT STANDARDIZED THESE THINGS?
posted by yerfatma at 2:17 PM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I understand reasons for it, but I would hope in a few years ideas like personas show up so a phone can be both my personal phone and my company-issued work phone.

Like I mentioned above: Dual SIM.
posted by kmz at 3:01 PM on February 15, 2012


Whatever happened to the idea of using PEM-membrane hydrogen fuel cells for mobile devices? It would be really cool to see people walking around, chatting on an iPhone, with steam escaping from the top of the device.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:17 PM on February 15, 2012


Am I the only one that wants to rip wall warts from the wall when someone leaves one plugged in with no device attached.

No, there are bigger things to worry about like TV sets that consume a lot of power when they're off. Most wall charges that aren't charging something consume a negligible amount of power.

Also: IT'S 2012 HOW THE FUCK HAVE WE NOT STANDARDIZED THESE THINGS?

They have in the EU. They settled on MicroUSB. In Europe, Apple provides a little MicroUSB-iPod connector dongle for standardization.
posted by birdherder at 3:19 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


A person can only use one phone at a time, so what will all the extra phones do? Obviously, they'll talk to each other out of boredom. And that's how Skynet starts.
The fact that you can only use one phone at once is kind of bullshit, though.. Why shouldn't you be able to easily switch phones? You should be able to log in/log out of phones and use multiple ones more easily. Obviously the phone company wants people to get multiple plans for multiple people, and so on.
IMO it's just another symptom of the carriers near monopoly on selling phones. You can have as many computers as you want connected to your ISP, you can have as many landline phones as you want in your home, why should cellphones be tied to carriers? It's bullshit.
Dedicating this to all the people who scoffed at phones changing lives some of the most challenging parts of the world.
Looks like it was just one idiot, and apparently I responded at the time anyway :P. But it was funny to see Steven C. Den Beste flogging the "CDMA is superior!!!" Nonsense. He actually wrote a popular article (linked by slashdot) a long time ago about how the superiority of CDMA was proof that the free market was better because the 'socialist' Europe had standardized on GSM (which is based on TDMA) while the US let the 'free market' try different solutions and CDMA won out. It was ridiculous, especially since despite inferior technology cellphone coverage was actually better in Europe then the US.
Seconded. Having multiple phones feels like a complete UI failure to me. I understand reasons for it, but I would hope in a few years ideas like personas show up so a phone can be both my personal phone and my company-issued work phone.
Well, I have 'multiple phones' My first smart phone was also the first ever Android phone, the G1. It's not hooked up to any network, but there's no reason I couldn't use wifi on it, or even use it for skyping (although it's stuck on android 1.5 and I'm not sure skype would run).

But it's still a perfectly fine tiny-computer. I can still run all the 'apps' on it, in particular I have a stopwatch app I find useful.

That said, I don't really think it's a "UI failure" if people have multiple 'live' phones for multiple purposes, say work and personal. You might want to take your personal phone with you, and leave your work phone at home. Well, what could be simpler from a "UI" perspective then just grabbing a separate physical object? That's the ultimate real-world affordance, right there, isn't it? Ultimately nothing you put on a touch screen can be more intuitive for people then simply having them chose between physical objects they can actually grab and touch.

And the thing is, what if all of our devices could be hooked up to our cellular accounts easily? So a high end digital camera, for example, could function as a phone and let you upload your photos as you took them. A good digital camera will usually take better pictures then a cell phone, and if you could re rout your calls to it, then you could take that instead of a phone.

And what about portable gaming systems like the Nintendo DS? If you wanted to play a game that works better with real controls, you could grab that, or you could grab a tiny phone to go to the gym and work out or go to the beach, or whatever.

The thing is, we've been consolidating lots of little devices into the cellphone, and that means everything has to have the same physical UI: just a big glass touch screen. But some devices work better with different interfaces: A game controller like the DS, a knob and buttons for an MP3 player (so you don't have to look at it to change songs). Or different hardware, like a big lenses and sensor on a camera. If all the devices were telephone enabled, you could grab whichever one you think will work best for what you want to do.

But, because of provider lockdown, we're locked into one smartphone paradigm that does everything "OK", but nothing, but don't really excel because compromises need to be made.
They have in the EU. They settled on MicroUSB. In Europe, Apple provides a little MicroUSB-iPod connector dongle for standardization.
Yup, it's Micro-B all the way. I'm surprised iphones don't come with a micro-b connector at this point. There's also the MHL port now which lets you plug an HDTV into a cellphone, and send video to the screen while you charge. It's physically comparable with USB micro-B so you actually use the same physical port to connect to a computer, charger, or TV.
posted by delmoi at 3:33 PM on February 15, 2012


I know a number of people who have a work phone and a personal phone. I only have one phone, but I also have an ipod, and now a Kindle (my credit union sent it to me as a thank-you for joining).
posted by rtha at 7:08 PM on February 15, 2012


I don't see that being addressed at all here. Perhaps I've missed it?

None of that is addressed here. Only the fact that there will be more active phones than people. Say the top of the global social and economic pyramid is 1.2 billion and they have two phones each, that's 2.4 billion and the total population of planet is around 7 billion, that's still another 5 billion phones or 4 billion if you say even the next level down have two phones or more.

Has having access to the phone not changed the life (and cash flow) for your neighbourhood sabjiwallah? Has mpaisa reached your town yet? What is the change a computer in the pocket of a curious young woman effected in her country?
posted by infini at 10:55 AM on February 17, 2012


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