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Mobility is changing the way we live: here’s how

We live in a mobile world. That much is obvious. The momentum has shifted steadily in favour of gadgets and services that are portable or mobile and those that deliver networking capabilities and entertainment. And that’s changing the way we live in profound ways that you might not have even noticed yet.

Nur Bremmen: Staff reporter
Nur is an enigma with a passion for creating words. He recently entered a love affair with technology and chorizo sausages. He travels a lot -- you... More

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According to tech research company Gartner, the most profound changes are occurring in the way people organise their lives and the spaces they live in.

It’s got a point. Think about it, if you own a tablet, when was the last time you took your laptop to bed with you?

“Early adopters tend to leave the home laptop in the bag and are abandoning the home office in favour of the lounge room couch or bedroom to do online activities in a more comfortable environment using a tablet or smartphone,” says Nick Ingelbrecht, research director at Gartner.

The falling price of mobile tech also means that, although we’re collectively spending less on these devices, they’re becoming increasingly pervasive. “This early adopter trend is becoming mainstream consumer behaviour”, says Ingelbrecht. “Consequently, technology and service providers are faced with no alternative but to innovate for mobility. If they do nothing, they face a potential train wreck as consumers abandon gadgets, services and applications that do not fully support changing mobile lifestyles.”

Mobile usage by device

Another obvious side-effect of our increasingly mobile lifestyles is that larger devices, such as PCs and games consoles, will be replaced at a much slower pace. According to Gartner, upgrades of these devices will be deferred or abandoned as people find they can do most of what they want on more recently purchased portable devices anywhere they want when they want. The things they can’t do will either get postponed to a later time or be forgotten about altogether as they reorganise tasks and activities to the devices and services they prefer to use.

Another casualty of this phenomenon is the TV, despite the manufacturers going all in on the Smart TV phenomenon, people will only replace their TVs once every four-and-a-half years.

“Where they are occurring, the lengthening of gadget replacement cycles reflects a mixture of economic pressures on the consumer wallet and hardware product maturity,” said Amanda Sabia, principal research analyst at Gartner. “Increasingly, upgrades are taking place in software, content and application ecosystems supported by cloud services, relieving the requirement for hardware upgrades.”

Despite the threats presented by mobile, there is still opportunity for traditional PC and console vendors if they manage to build mobile solutions and portable extensions to their traditionally fixed products and services.