The cell phone will soon rule the world.
Sure, we're practically tethered to them already today, but by 2020 the mobile phone will be the primary connection tool to the Internet for most people in the world, according to a study from Pew Internet & American Life Project.
Consider the growth rates. There are 6.6 billion people in the world and the market researcher Wireless Intelligence said it took 20 years for the first billion mobile phones to sell, four years for the second billion and two years for the third billion.
Not convinced yet? Wireless Intelligence predicted 4 billion cell phones would exist in the world by the end of 2009. It won't be long before we reach the last 2.6 billion.
Mobile phones will march down the fast track to ubiquity because they connect people everywhere. What's more, the always-on device will possess far superior computing power in the future, including Internet capability. In fact, it may look and feel like the cell phone of today but it'll be less about calls and more about doing everything else. We may not even be able to tell a phone apart from a laptop by 2020, the two will be so similar in capabilities, the study predicts.
By 2020 we'll stop talking about 'phones,' with any luck," says Susan Crawford, the founder of OneWebDay and an Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers board member, in the Pew study. "Nor will we be talking about 'telephony.' Those terms, I hope, will be dead. These devices will just be handsets of which we'll be very fond."
And you thought you could unplug. Fat chance of that happening because the already thin line between personal and work time will pretty much vanish over the next decade, Pew predicts.