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Mobile First – a mirage?

You've heard the hype. The mobile web is exploding, and device sales will soon outstrip PCs. Our desktops and laptops will join VCRs and fax machines in the dustbin of history.

Source: CNN Money


Yet, mobile usage share is totally flatlined (perhaps even declining slightly):

Source: StatCounter


What is going on?

While dreadful state of today's mobile web is painful, both as a developer and a user, this difference is a little hard to explain. I have some guesses but I'm interested to know what you think!

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I would postulate most mobile users perform a lot of functions that previously were done on websites using apps. Business banking is a perfect example of a place I never interact with a mobile website, but instead use the app that was created by my bank.

That said, I think consolidating on a single HTML5 platform would be an easy way to get efficiencies and (technically speaking) get some of that mobile web growth back.

My guess: People buy replacements for their mobile devices much more often.

There are people who have owned every version of the iPhone, for instance, so now that we're about 4 years in from that initial smartphone explosion -- smartphones existed before the iPhone, but nobody seemed to care so much -- there's bound to be a buildup of forgotten and discarded devices. I'm not an every-generation "upgrader," but even I'm on my second iPhone with the first sitting in a drawer.

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