If Homer only knew back in 1994 that smartphone mobile apps would someday start to creep into precious TV viewing time, he probably would have written, 'No Smartphone and No Specialty Beer Make Homer Go Crazy,' in the Simpson's classic Treehouse of Horror V. It's no surprise that time spent on mobile apps have overtaken time spent on desktop web usage. Typical smartphone owners have an average of 41 apps per device, 9 more than they had last year according to the Nielsen report, State of the Appnation – A Year of Change and Growth in U.S. Smartphones. Mobile app usage has jumped 35% from 94 minutes a day a year ago to almost 130 minutes a day today while desktop web usage dropped from 72 to 70 minutes a day, according to Flurry. Almost twice as much time mobile app'ing than web browsing. Many of us probably spend more than two hours a day fiddling with mobile apps. And the time spent doing that is now challenging our beloved TV viewing time.
Based on United States Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2010 and 2011, Flurry estimates that Americans watch about 168 minutes of television a day. They expect that tablet and smartphone apps will compete with TV as the primary method for media consumption. Personally, I think that might occur in many households, but with internet capable TVs and our love of the big screen, I don't think it'll go away. In fact, I think the TV will become more of a communications hub. Simply a big monitor on the wall that handles video calls, closed circuit cameras, streaming media, broadcast media, web surfing and any other IP related task. Moving around and mobile, cool...but sitting on my couch, I'd rather look at a larger screen than some 5 inch display. Just me. I've mentioned in the past that, I think that TVs, cars and any other connected device could be considered BYOD in the near future. Why wouldn’t a mobile employee want secure VDI access from his car’s Ent/GPS display? Why couldn’t someone check their corporate email from the TV during commercials?
The category of top apps is also shifting. While gaming is still the top app at 43% (down from 50%), entertainment apps and utilities gained more of our attention at the expense of games and social networking (30% to now 26% of our time). Clearly mobile apps are touching many aspects of our life and as more BYOD deployments occur in 2013, there will probably be more business specific apps on our devices and our daily 'media' consumption will rise. Yet, I gotta believe that (at least in the U.S.), we love our televisions so much and I have a hard time thinking that we're going to shove them aside for something we can carry in our pocket. At least in the home. And as more TVs get cameras, are internet ready, have our favorite streaming channels loaded, allow us to check email and can browse the web (all the things a smartphone can do with the processing power), I think we may gravitate back to a family on the living room couch. Do you think mobile apps will overtake TV one day?
As an aside, I was having a little trouble coming up with a blog topic to start 2013 but anytime I can include a 1990's reference, a Simpsons quote and BYOD in the same entry, that's a pretty good start to the year.