Mobile is changing the way we share our lives

  • By Michael Katchen
  • December 14, 2011
Part 1: Mobile is changing the way we share our lives

In just 40 years mobile devices have transformed everything from work, to politics, to how we wake up in the morning. In 2011, 3 of every 4 digital devices sold will be a mobile phone - a staggering 1.8 billion "phones" [1]. With almost 6 billion mobile subscribers around the globe, mobile phones now connect the largest network of people that has ever existed [2].

What we bought in 2011

A billion people online all day, every day

What’s even more incredible is that, unlike Gordon Gekko’s brick of a phone from the 1980s, today’s devices connect a network of a billion people to the Internet whenever, and wherever they want [3]. 2011 was a watershed year, as people truly started taking advantage of having the Internet in their pocket. From the Arab Spring, to Instagram, humanity started sharing our lives in an unprecedented way. And at its core was photos. 14 years after an image of Sophie Kahn launched the camera phone [4], mobile photography (iPhoneography if you will) went mainstream. In 2011, Americans took 34% more photos using mobile phones (and 13% fewer photos with point and shoot cameras) [5]. The easy, pocket-sized camera we take with us everywhere has become our preferred way to capture and instantly share our photos.

Mobile photography experienced massive growth while point-and-shoot declined

Our ubiquitous mobile has become a way to share the world through our eyes: the places we’ve been, the people we meet, and the things we experience in real-time. In doing so we are implicitly crafting an incredibly rich portrait of our lives, and together, creating a detailed collection of human history that will, for the first time, include the story of everyone …

Next: We are recording more stories than ever before

Or click here to see the whole series.

Footnotes and sources

1. Earlier this year Gartner, a technology research company, estimated 1.795 billion global mobile phone shipments in 2011. You can see more in their report here. You can see PC and tablet estimates here and digital camera estimates here.
2. According to a report by ITU published in October, "The World in 2011", the global number of mobile subscribers in 2011 is 5.9 billion.
3. More than 1 billion mobile phones can access the Internet according to a "The World in 2011" report published by ITU.
4. Phillipe Khan invented the camera phone in 1997, snapping a photo of his newborn daughter, Sophie.
5. Based on a 1000memories survey conducted in December 2011.


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