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Smartphones: not for most people

The Wikipedia Editor Survey 2011 came out recently. Interesting reading. One particular tidbit:

  1. 84% of Wikipedia editors have a mobile phone.
  2. Of mobile phone owners, only 38% have a smartphone.
  3. 34% of editors read Wikipedia on their phone.

What does this tell us? There’s a lot of dumbphones, feature phones, old phones and just-about-scrapes-by-on-the-‘net phones out there. Most people aren’t using iPhones and Android smartphones… if by definition of ‘people’, you include the whole planet outside of the Western metropolises.

These are editors, not readers.

And really you should be. If you’ve got something to say, put it on the web, make it readable on smartphones and dumbphones, desktops, laptops, Kindles, Googlebots, semantic web agents. Blobs of Objective-C or Java are not a replacement for nice, lightweight, standards-based HTML. There’s a wide world out there beyond latte-drinking hipsters and Tim ‘Nice But Dim’ yuppie business executives on their smartphones.

One of the things I’m proud of about Wikipedia is that the community don’t give priority to rich smartphone owners over people in the developing world with older phones and less reliable connections. Hundreds or thousands of languages and devices, millions of topics, billions of web pages, trillions of bytes every hour but One Web for everyone regardless of browser, device, nation, race, religion, language or ideology. Let’s keep it that way.