There are over 5 billion mobile subscribers in the world. I have no idea how many of them get the Internet on their phone, but each day brings new advances in cheap hardware, bandwidth, and services. It's not hard to imagine mobile internet invading all of our lives. Which raises an intriguing question: Is mobile THE new standard platform? Will the recent evolutions in interface and user experience design turn the Internet into one giant app?
It certainly seems like it. When Apple developed iOS for the launch of the iPhone in 2007, one of their more notable accomplishments was updating the standard for all mobile interaction by leaps and bounds over their predecessors. Apple's design team created baseline components for use throughout all apps on their platform. Each switch, drop down, button, and text input field operates the same way inside every application on iOS. More than four years later, those ideas are playing themselves out far beyond the boundaries of the iPhone, influencing nearly every designer, developer, and entrepreneur setting out to build a new company.
"You can safely assume that for those born now or have been born within the last decade, their first entry into the online world—other than the occasional laptop in a classroom—will be through a mobile device." - James D Robinson, Managing Partner, RRE Ventures
Now imagine entire generations who have grown up in a world with mobile devices. They are nearly assured to speak the language of mobile fluently. This is one of the many reasons I am excited to be an investor right now. Every day startups are coming out with mobile experiences that push boundaries and have the potential to dramatically influence the way the entire world performs tasks.
"I think we're in a phase of the game where to build an enjoyable application, you've got to start from the mobile perspective first and not try to build it on the web and then migrate over." - Tony Conrad, Founder of About.me & Partner, True Ventures
My friend Jeff Claiver points to Instagram as the first cross-platform service to be conceived specifically for mobile—surely a trend that's bound to continue as new businesses form and old businesses realize that engaging mobile experiences lead to incredible user adoption. When coupled with effortless, 1-step payment, mobile has the potential to offer such a frictionless experience and the potential to reach so many worldwide users, it's hard to fathom why a consumer products business wouldn't think about mobile first and the web second.
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