Let me introduce you to my friend Abdulla! He’s Qatari, in his early 20s, extremely smart, fit, polite, always well-groomed and very, very tech-savvy. His love for technology can be also evidenced by listing the vast collection of tech-armor he has – he owns three smartphones, four tablets, two laptops, a desktop, the latest range of cameras (the one that has internet and social media functions) and a range of video and other games available anywhere in the world. And, yes, there’s more, a few latest models of phones are on the way to add to his collection.
Now he is not just a “hoarder” of tech devices like the wild ones hoard food for the harsh, cold winters. He is actually always engaging his “followers and friends” through all his resources and channels – whether its Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn…you name it and he is aware of the intricacies of using any social media network, the tactics of engaging and retaining followers and creating digital content that interests his followers almost without fail.
And at times, when he gets absolutely bored he buys a brand new model of smartphone or tablet, and passes the old one (which usually is still in a fantastic condition) to his lesser fortunate friends. He is not the only one, I am surrounded by young people in Qatar who would fit in the same description – Jassim, Mohammed, Umer, Maaria, Rawan, Zainab, well, I could name a lot but you get the gist.
When I was reading Qatar’s ICT Landscape 2013: Households and Individuals, released by ictQATAR yesterday, my thoughts ran to Abdulla and all others I mentioned above. Surely it will not be difficult for you to think of a few familiar faces that fit in the category. The truth is Qatari youth are truly blazing the way in use of technology especially smartphones and now we have solid evidence of this fact.
According to the report, Qatari citizens between the ages of 15 and 24 have the highest ICT penetration rates of any age group, across the board, including for computers, the Internet, and mobile services. They are also leading the way with smartphone usage—not only for basic functions like voice calls and email, but increasingly for web browsing, instant messaging, next-generation entertainment features, and social networking, which they engage in far more frequently than other age groups. My thoughts jump to my young friends again at this point and I pump the air and say “yesss”.
The report highlights the newer tablet computers are really proving to be most popular with these youngsters, who, as a group, appear to recognize the importance of advanced computing and Internet skills. This indeed bodes well for Qatar’s continued development of a knowledgeable, innovative ICT workforce and for the digital future in Qatar, as a whole. In fact, one of the topline finding of the report is that on average, a Qatari household owns three mobile phones, two computers, and one smartphone, and that figure is only going to move up.
I would like to conclude by saying, read this interesting report, share it with your friends and watch this space for more tech usage evidence!