Over half of adult Americans (55%) have accessed the Internet by some wireless means, whether it’s on a laptop, an mp3 player, a cellular phone, or a game console. This information comes from the latest Pew Internet report on wireless Internet use. The survey, taken between November 30 and December 27, 2009, revealed a few interesting points:
- 74% of American adults use the Internet; 93% of these are ages 18-29.
- 60% of American adults use broadband connections at home.
- Of the 55% of American adults that connect to the Internet wirelessly, 83% connect via WiFi.
- 83% of American adults have cell phones or smartphones and, among them, 35% have accessed the Internet via their phone.
Perhaps one of the most interesting statistics found in this report was with respect to race/ethnicity and wireless internet users. Out of the aforementioned 55% of American adults, 59% are Black/Non-Hispanic, and 62% are Hispanic (English- and Spanish-speaking). If you look at a prior Pew study from April 2009, African-Americans were the most active users of the mobile Internet, and the fastest-growing demographic. Pew says that the digital divide between African-Americans and White Americans diminishes when mobile use is taken into account. 29% of African-Americans use the Internet on their handled on a daily basis.
These stats illustrate the fact that African-Americans are skillfully accessing and navigating the Internet, particularly on their mobile phones. We’ve all seen advertisements in magazines and on television for ringtones and wallpapers from our favorite celebrities. Even Internet music wunderkind Soulja Boy has been on the mobile app bandwagon with his “Kiss Me Thru The Phone” iPhone application. $2.4 billion worth of applications are sold in Apple’s App Store every year. Android’s Market sells about $60 million worth of applications a year, that number will only increase with new Android phones available on all major US cellular phone carriers. The mobile app market is speculated to reach $29.5 billion by 2013. BusinessWeek even says that this new app economy is creating big profits for entrepreneurs. Clearly, there’s money to be made here, but why should the buck stop there?
You’ve heard the saying “there’s an app for that.” Guess what — you could write it. The entry point for mobile app development is a lot easier than you think. Black Web 2.0 has also covered this wave of mobile entrepreneurship opportunity in the past. Social media and Internet consultant Navarrow Wright spoke about this back in November of 2009.
If you have a Mac and iPhone, you can begin developing apps in no time. Join the iPhone Developer Program and begin creating your app for as little as $99. That might seem like a big investment, but the payback could be huge. Just ask Jonecia Keels, a Spelman engineering major who developed the iDex Pokémon Guide, one of the top 25 ranking apps in the App Store. The door to access is even easier if you want to develop apps for Android. Eclipse, a popular IDE for compiling programs, is free. The latest version of the Android SDK is free. And if you have a computer science background (or can find someone who does), apps are created using Java, which most universities’ computer science department programs teach as part of their curriculum. (And yes, Virginia, there’s even an Android emulator if you don’t have an Android phone.) And in case you’re not a student or have no programming background, classes for iPhone development are available on Stanford University’s website for free (you can even download them via iTunes). There’s also Appcelerator Titanium, an IDE which helps you build both Android and iPhone applications.
The potential educational and financial experience with app development goes far beyond programming — we’re talking about ways to bring information to underserved communities, create new entrepreneurship opportunities, and help bridge the digital divide. Mobile apps are quickly becoming the future of social computing. Will you be ahead of the curve?Category: Entrepreneur, Featured | Tags: android, Appcelerator Titanium, apple, Eclipse, google, iDex Pokemon Guide, iPhone, Jonecia Keels, Pew Internet, Spelman