The numbers from audience analytics firm Médiamétrie suggest that the French mobile internet now counts 18.3 million users — around half of the overall number of internet users in the country, but growing rapidly.
According to the “smartphone generation” study, 40 percent of mobile users there are now using high end handsets, and Android is gaining fast against other systems.
The report comes hot on the heels of figures from Gartner that suggest the last quarter saw PC sales in Western Europe drop by 11.4 percent over the same time last year. And that’s including the business market: things were even worse in the consumer market, where sales were down more than 18 percent.
Most headlines focused on the specifics of the data — including the fact that Asus and Apple are bucking the market — or the possible causes, such as whether it’s consumer confidence that’s at play here, or just a general switch from desktop to post-PC (for that, the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones has a good summary).
But though the situation isn’t exactly mutually exclusive — people aren’t necessarily deciding, nor using them in the same way — it’s clearer than ever that the PC era is being overtaken by mobile.
This isn’t a new trend, of course, and it’s yet another data point to explain the move by many computer manufacturers and software companies to push mobile (even when, as with HP’s purchase of Palm, it doesn’t always work out). But it’s worth reminding yourself that this future, long painted, is becoming more real day by day.