The myriad phones and tablets occupying our pockets and adorning our coffee tables are starting to supplant the humble computer in our lives. The latest evidence of this revolution comes from a report that says mobile devices are now more prominent than computers on Wi-Fi networks.
Meraki, a cloud networking provider, released a report outlining Wi-Fi usage by type of device. It noted that in 2010, computers (both Mac and Windows) accounted for 64 percent of Wi-Fi usage, while iOS devices (iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad) accounted for 32 percent and Android only 1 percent.
So far, 2011 has been a different story: Computer usage on Wi-Fi networks has fallen to 36 percent, while iOS devices have jumped to 47 percent. The iPhone alone accounts for 32 percent of devices on Wi-Fi networks.
Android use has also increased significantly, to 11 percent. Even more astounding, these mobile usage numbers have increased since Meraki released the same report in March of 2011.
The numbers clearly show that mobile devices are starting to become the device of choice for staying connected. It's not too surprising. People are much more likely to have their phone or tablet with them, rather than a laptop, when they find a Wi-Fi hot spot. Furthermore, there's the matter of convenience: Phones are always on. Why boot up a laptop when you can connect to Wi-Fi and check email on a phone in a fraction of the time?
The report found that iPad owners tend to access far more data than smartphone users do. The Android phones, iPhone and iPod Touch all averaged similar data-usage rates, around 40 megabytes per month, while the average iPad data usage was nearly 200 megabytes.