Asia-Pacific is leading a surge in the use of mobile devices as they play a more central role in people's lives and are on track to replace conventional computers, a top Google executive said on Wednesday.
Aliza Knox, managing director of commerce for Google Asia Pacific, said smartphones and tablets were now becoming the primary means to access the Internet in the region, adding that the US firm was making preparations to respond to that.
"Asia has an insatiable appetite for mobile," she told a forum at the CommunicAsia telecom fair in Singapore.
Four regional economies —Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and South Korea — already have higher smartphone use rates than the United States, Knox said.
She added that 74% of searches in Singapore are now done on mobile gadgets while in Indonesia 78% of Internet users go online with a tablet or smartphone.
In Japan, a person has an average 45 apps on his or her mobile phone, with South Koreans coming next at 42 — compared with 23 in the United States, according to Knox.
By 2015, one in two people in the world using the Internet will be in Asia, and in the region a person's first experience online will likely be on a mobile.
"Asia is ahead, Asia is taking this up faster than other places," she said.
Knox also cited global research showing "most people" keep at least one mobile device within three feet and check them an average 40 times a day.
One in four take it to the bathroom and two in three sleep them beside the bed.