How Has the Source of Computing Power Changed over Time?

In 1986, more than 40 percent of the world's data processing power came from pocket calculators. Almost 10 percent came from video game consoles, and only about 30 percent actually came from personal computers. That all started to change in the early 1990s, and by 2007, about 65 percent of computing power came from personal computers, and about 25 percent came from mobile phones.

More computing facts:

  • Internet usage almost quadrupled from 1997-2007 in the United States — only about 20 percent of Americans reported using the Internet in 1997, and almost 70 percent did in 2007. From 1999-2000 alone, global Internet use increased by 100 million people.

  • Globally, the countries that have the highest percentage of people using computers are Sweden, South Korea and the U.S. The countries with the lowest percentage of the population using computers include Pakistan, Tanzania and Bangladesh.

  • The regions where computer usage seems to be increasing the fastest are Central and South America. Computer usage in Brazil doubled from 2002-2007.

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Discussion Comments


Yes. In 1986 I had a pocket calculator. Now most of my calculating is done in Excel on my computer, or on the computer's built-in calculator. The calculator on the mobile phone is also a handy tool.

For this same reason I no longer have a wrist watch. I check the time on my computer or phone.

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