Mobile phones will be the primary device used for accessing the web in 2020, claim analysts.
"The mobile phone will be the primary internet connection and the only one for a majority of the people across the world," says the Pew Internet & American Life Project in its 'Future of the Internet' report.
"Telephony [will be] offered under a set of universal standards and protocols accepted by most operators internationally, making for reasonably effortless movement from one part of the world to another."
Nearly four out of five experts agreed with this scenario, according to an online Pew survey which formed the basis of the report. Pew surveyed 578 leading internet activists, builders and commentators, identified through various technology associations as well as an "extensive canvassing of scholarly, government and business documents from the period 1990-1995 to see who had ventured predictions about the future impact of the internet".
A experts polled included Nicholas Carr, author of the Rough Type blog and The Big Switch; Havi Hoffman of the Yahoo Developer Network; Michael Botein, founding director of the Media Law Center at New York University Law School and several members of the ICANN board.
In addition to the 578 experts, Pew surveyed another 618 respondents who are helping build the web but aren't necessarily considered experts or opinion leaders. The report revelaed that 55 percent expected to routinely interact in artificial spaces through virtual worlds and other types of 'augmented reality' while nearly two thirds thought voice-activation and touch will be common technology interfaces by 2020.
"Air-typing will become common because of a small handheld internet appliance [that] allows you to display and use a full-size virtual keyboard on any flat surface for those moments when you would prefer not to talk aloud to your networked computer," said the report.
The report also highlighted that by 2020, people will be more open to sharing personal information, opinions and emotions because of internet technology, but experts are split down the middle on whether this new transparency will heighten individual integrity and forgiveness.