Yesterday I bemoaned the MR industry’s bemoaning of the slow uptake of what we used to call “pure mobile” applications. It occurred to me after posting that I had not mentioned arguably the biggest benefit of mobile for MR: it makes a huge portion of the world that has long been unreachable reachable, and without the need to expend large amounts of time, effort, and money.
Before mobile Internet penetration in most emerging market countries was a painfully slow march. Cafes aside, the price of admission was a PC. Mobile made it possible to leapfrog the first world Internet adoption step of connecting to the rest of the world via a PC, instead opting first for a feature phone on a mobile network and, more recently, a smartphone on the mobile web. Smartphone penetration may still not be where we would like it to be in many countries, but we are years ahead of where we would have been without mobile. For an industry that was just beginning to embrace the need for a global focus, mobile was a godsend.