The Digital Media Revolution – Brief History

Since the 1960s, computing power and storage capacity have grown at an exponential rate. Billions of people now can create, modify and distribute digital media thanks to personal computers and smartphones. And many electronic devices, ranging from digital cameras to drones, can produce and display digital media. 

Digital media, when combined with the Internet, has changed the 21st-century culture in ways that have often been compared to the cultural, economic, and social influence of the printing press a few decades earlier. The transformation has been so rapid and widespread that it has triggered an economic transition from an industrial to an information-based economy, paving the way of a new era in human history known as the “Information Age” or the “Digital revolution”.

The impact of digital media on society and culture is important, wide, and, most importantly, still in progress.

Definitions have become ambiguous as a result of this fast transition. Digital media, modern media, multimedia, and other related terminology all refer to both the innovation and the cultural influence of digital media.

The notion that we are progressing toward a completely digital, paperless world is followed by the concern that we will soon – or maybe already are – facing a digital age in which older media will be inaccessible on new devices or by modern methods of scholarship. 

Smartphones and digital (r)evolution

On April 3, 1973, a senior engineer at Motorola called Martin Cooper made the first phone call. And he decided that the first phone call should be to a competitor telecommunications firm, with the words “I’m speaking via mobile phone.” (source: Wikipedia)

Motorola, again, launched the first commercial cell phone in 1983. Nokia entered the market in the early 1990s, with their Nokia 1011 becoming the first mass-produced cell phone. The Nokia Communicator 9000 was the first smartphone, featuring an Intel 24 MHz CPU and 8 MB (Megabyte, not Gigabyte!) of RAM. Smartphone quality has risen dramatically over the years. Nowadays, smartphones are thousands and thousands of times more powerful than 30 years ago.

Today, those brands which produced the very first phones such as Nokia and Motorola are no longer main actors in the scene. Brands like Apple and Samsung are now the most popular, and  Android and iOS – two mobile operating systems – both have a monopoly on the smartphone industry. 

In fact, according to a January 2021 report, Android accounts for approximately 72 percent of the global smartphone market, while Android and iOS jointly possess over 99 percent of the global market share. (source: Statista)

And about 85% of the mobile market revenue comes from the mobile games, which reminds us how now digital devices and phones no longer have strictly a use out of necessity, i.e. phone calls, like in their early years, but are way more than that. It is safe to say that today they are mostly entertainment devices which are causing a revolution in the society.

And as we said earlier in this article, this digital revolution is still in progress and it will change our society even more deeply in the upcoming years. The effect of the digital revolution can also be measured by looking at the number of mobile smartphone device users worldwide. In 2016, there was 2.5 billion smartphone users in the world. Today, there is 3.8 billion users. By 2022, this amount is expected to surpass 4 billion.

It is worth noting that the number of smart device users is rapidly increasing, while also the number of operational purposes is growing on a regular basis.  The figures hence prove the current influence of new media communications, which is normal when each day 4 billion people use their smartphone and interact with its “new era” features.

Now, a smartphone or tablet can be used for a wide range of everyday tasks.It’s no wonder that both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store currently have over 1 million games and apps. Including, YouTube…