New Internet Trends Report

As an Internet service provider, we’re passionate about the Internet and work hard to keep up with what’s new and stay informed about trends that are affecting the direction of the Internet. And we like to keep our Internet access customers informed, as well. So yesterday was a big day.

internet-trends-report-2013On day two of the AllThingsD D11 conference, Mary Meeker, partner at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, presented her latest annual report on Internet trends.

You can find the full Internet trends presentation (117 slides) on the KPCB website or watch the full video of the D11 presentation (about 24 minutes). But we’ll save you some time by giving you the highlights.

  • The Internet is still growing – fast. EarthLink has been in the Internet access business almost 20 years, so to us it often seems such a mature, established industry. But it is still growing 8%, driven by emerging markets such as China, India, Indonesia, Iran and the Philippines (see slide 4).
  • The U.S. still dominates the Internet. Of the top 10 global Internet properties (Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, etc.), eight were “Made in the USA.” Interestingly, while 80% of the sites are U.S.-owned, traffic to them is 81% international users. On the mobile side, 88% of smartphone operating systems (iOS, Android, Windows Phone) are U.S.-made (see slides 6 & 7).
  • Sharing is skyrocketing. The amount of content created and shared has grown by 9x in five years and shows no sign of slowing down (see slides 11- 23).
  • Facebook still rules…but for how long? The top social media sites were Facebook (#1 by a significant amount), YouTube, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn (see slide 27). Facebook’s users, however, were reported to have declined from 2011 to 2012.
  • U.S. smartphone users are pretty darn happy. Users report feeling “connected,” “excited,” “curious/interested,” and “productive” about social and communication activities on their smartphones (see slide 31).
  • Mobile Internet traffic is growing and growing and… In some countries (notably China), mobile Internet access has surpassed desktop/PC access. Mobile is growing for both commerce and social sharing sites (see slides 32 – 37).
  • Tablets have grown even faster than smartphones. Global shipments of tablets actually surpassed desktop PCs and notebook/laptop computers in Q4 of 2012 (see slides 44 – 50).
  • Wearable tech devices with sensors are next in line. Expect hands-free, wearable devices such as wristwatches, bracelets, glasses and more (see slides 52 – 55).
  • China: the case study. Sure, they’re growing because they’re the biggest country. But they are also innovating in some interesting ways (see slides 67 – 73).
  • Immigration fuels U.S. tech … but not enough. Sixty percent of the top 25 tech companies in the U.S. were founded by 1st or 2nd generation Americans. But immigration policy means there’s a shortage of high-skilled technology workers needed to grow the industry (see slides 84 – 90).

Let us know what Internet trend you are most excited about, or if you see other trends.

Kindle Fire: So Hot, It’s Sold Out

If you have a high-speed Internet connection at home (either DSL or cable Internet), you’ve probably set up a Wi-Fi home network so you can connect all around the house on your laptop.

You may also use your home Wi-Fi network to browse the Internet with your smartphone or tablet.

But there’s another device that’s great to use with your high-speed Internet home network, and that device was in the news this morning.

Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet

Sold Out...But Stay Tuned.

It’s Amazon’s Kindle Fire (which lets you browse the Web whenever you’re connected to Wi-Fi).

So, why is the Kindle Fire in the news today?

Because Amazon announced earlier this morning that the Kindle Fire:

  • is the most successful product launch in Amazon.com’s history
  • has earned over 10,000 5-star reviews
  • has been the #1 best-selling product on Amazon.com since it was introduced about 9 months ago
  • has captured 22% of tablet sales in the U.S.
  • is now sold out

That’s right: sold out. As in, no more Kindle Fire. Forever.

But don’t fret if you’ve been putting off buying one.

Amazon is holding a press event in Los Angeles next Thursday, September 6, and there are lots of rumors about Amazon announcing a new line of Kindle Fires.

PCWorld.com has a list of 5 things that would make the new Kindle Fire a big hit.

Do you have a Kindle Fire or other Kindle? Are you thinking about buying one? Or are you a fan of another tablet? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments section below.

New Products from Apple & Microsoft In the News

The two iconic companies that have long represented the personal computer industry to most consumers – Microsoft and Apple – have been making big news in the past couple of weeks, with major computer and mobile product announcements and updates. Lets take a look at what’s new and what it means for you.

Apple – New Laptops, OS X, iOS

New Macbook laptops, OS X, and iOS 6

New Mac Products Unveiled

On June 11, Apple announced updates across its line of laptops. Updates to the base Macbook Pro and Macbook Air were considered good but relatively minor. Most notably, they all got bumped up to the new third-generation Intel “Ivy Bridge” Core processors, which deliver improvements in computer speed, battery life, and graphics performance. The biggest news, however, was the introduction of the very expensive (but some say worth every penny ) Macbook Pro with Retina Display. The laptop is considerably thinner and lighter than other Macbooks (not called Air), but the headline new feature is the high-resolution 2,880×1,800 pixel “retina” display found on the latest iPads.

Read CNET’s reviews of the new Macbook Air, Macbook Pro, and Macbook Pro with Retina Display.

If you’re looking to purchase an Apple computer, prices have already gone down for the previous generation. Here’s a CNET article on how to get the best deal on a previous-generation Macbook.

Deals on the next-gen computers may take a while to materialize.

Apple also announced the July release of its next OS X operating system, called Mountain Lion  (continuing Apple’s big-cat naming convention). The new OS is supposed to be more intuitive, operating more like an iPhone. It will also have much better social network (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) integration, increased iCloud online storage integration (allowing you to seamlessly sync information from computer to phone or tablet), enhanced type-as-you-talk dictation capabilities, and other new features and enhancements. The new OS X will be available for download at $19.99 (or free if you buy a Mac between now and the July release).

Details were also confirmed about Apple’s fall release of iOS 6 for iPhones and iPads. The new mobile OS will boast many improvements to Siri (including iPad support and integration in some cars), greater Facebook integration, a totally new 3-D maps app with turn-by-turn navigation, FaceTime calls over cell networks (not just Wi-Fi), game and photo enhancements, and more. Read all about the coming new iOS 6 here.

Microsoft – New Tablet/Laptop, New Mobile OS

New Microsoft Surface tablet

This Monday, Microsoft did something it had never done before: it showcased a Microsoft branded computer, a versatile tablet called the Surface. On the surface, the Surface may look a bit like the market leader, the iPad. It is similar in size and weight. But a couple of things make the Surface stand out: it has a built-in stand and a cover that converts into a keyboard. The two features – plus the fact that it will run full productivity tools like Microsoft Office – position the Surface more as a laptop replacement than other tablets. The new Microsoft product is expected to launch along with the new Windows 8 operating system  later in the year. Read a review of the Surface by the Wall Street Journal.

And just yesterday, Microsoft a new version of its Windows Phone OS for mobile devices: Windows Phone 8. The new mobile phone OS is expected to give Microsoft a better chance to compete against rivals Android and Apple in the red-hot mobile device marketplace. The new OS is expected to be both more robust and intuitive to use, with attractive features like Live Tiles, which automatically update various kinds of information based on user customization. Another headline feature is a new mobile wallet app that will let users pay for things with their phones and also track and use coupons, loyalty cards, and other shopping information.

While these next-gen phones are getting good initial reviews, they do present one big problem: the current Windows 7 phones will not be able to be upgraded to Windows 8 when it comes out. So if you think you might want a Windows phone, you should probably wait until later in the year when Windows Phone 8 comes out.