When cellphones first became popular in a mainstream way during the late 90s, very few people understood how the technology would change – especially since the aim for mobiles was to make them as small as possible at first. This changed as the 2010s hit, and providing better services to end users was the goal for hardware developers. It means that the modern mobile market changed significantly in a relatively short period of time. Smartphones, tablets and laptops are not just a way for people to stay connected with each other, they have become all-encompassing tools that impact every facet of our lives. So, what does this mean for media consumption? We’ve taken a close look to find out.
There are two ways in which mobile technology has impacted video streaming. With 4G and 5G technology widely available, people can stream high-quality video almost anywhere. The first way in which this is used is through live streaming. People are able to stream live video instantly with modern mobile devices. This means that video calls are possible with modern mobile devices, which would have been impossible on earlier small screen devices.
It has also allowed for live events to be screened on mobiles. Users are able to stream sporting events, concerts and even live TV to their phones. This has obviously made it much easier to consume media on the go – for example, people who are travelling to work can watch the news on their phone while sitting on the train.
Streaming doesn’t just include live video feeds, though. Platforms such as Netflix have allowed for streaming of TV shows and movies on demand, an option available to pretty much everyone. With mobile apps making it possible to access almost any streaming platform out there, people are able to sit and watch their content of preference on their mobile device. You don’t need a TV any more, so you can even lie in bed with a phone and headphones, watching whatever you want without bothering anyone else.
This is a big one. Mobile gaming is one of the largest sectors in the gaming world now. The power of mobile devices, combined with cloud computing, has made it easy for people to play their favorite games on the go. Not just that, augmented reality technology has helped to create unique games for players. Pokémon Go is the best example of an augmented reality game becoming hugely popular and giving people another way to use their mobile device.
There is also a lot of potential for the future. Items such as Google Glass will allow for higher levels of augmented reality to be implemented, which will provide a new level of gaming immersion. On top of this, the casual gaming explosion has made gaming accessible to a whole new demographic of people. Gaming is an area that has seen growth towards new customers due to mobile devices, which is something that other forms of media haven’t had access to.
This is perhaps the biggest aspect of media that has been impacted by mobile technology. Social media was once limited to use on personal computers. Once it did become available on mobile devices, the services that were available were generally much more limited than what was available on a computer. So, instead of having access to the variety of games and different interactions that were offered on the computer, users would just be able to post comments and pictures.
This changed as mobile devices became more similar to personal computers in terms of architecture. The switch to more functional operating systems, combined with an integrated, high-quality digital camera meant that mobile devices actually became much more useful for using social media. This, combined with the public’s obsession with documenting life through pictures, meant that the mobile became the preferred way to use social media. Users can be online constantly, keeping up to date with what is happening at all times.
New social media platforms tend to try and tap into this constantly-on mentality, and older platforms keep trying to integrate features that harness this. This has allowed people to use their mobile devices as a way to keep in touch with people all across the world. In an ironic twist, it has almost taken what phones were originally invented to do and bumped it up to a whole new level. This is without a doubt the biggest impact on media consumption from mobile technology.