Mobile ain’t a town, it’s the future

my iPhone family pile

Photo by blakespot

A July 2010 report from The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project had this summary on the state of mobile computing today:

Cell phone and wireless laptop internet use have each grown more prevalent over the last year. Nearly half of all adults (47%) go online with a laptop using a Wi-Fi connection or mobile broadband card (up from the 39% who did so as of April 2009) while 40% of adults use the internet, email or instant messaging on a mobile phone (up from the 32% of Americans who did this in 2009). This means that 59% of adults now access the internet wirelessly using a laptop or cell phone—that is, they answered “yes” to at least one of these wireless access pathways. That adds up to an increase from the 51% who used a laptop or cell phone wirelessly in April 2009.

The proliferation of smaller & more powerful computers…sorry, I meant smartphones, means that more individuals are using highly powerful mobile devices to perform tasks normally done on a static desktop.

The wired and connected is now highly portable and connected. However, we haven’t reached a saturation point yet–not everyone has a smartphone, nor have they portable devices that can do everything online and on the go…yet.

By contrast, given the steady rise of the availability and multifunction applications of these new devices, competitive pricing, and a greater comfort level of “I can do X on the go & online,” means that the steady rise in adoption & use of mobile computing will soon be an upward jump towards mobile-friendly everything. Not only day-to-day tasks like e-mail, document editing & dissemination, etc., but fully engaged users who create content (movies, presentations, documents) and disseminate it at the point of production via a wealth of social networks.

How do you think libraries fit into this equation? What steps is your library taking to engage the mobile user? What suggestions do you have to be a with-it institution? Let us explore and help shape this mobile evolution, eh?