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Digital technology by numbers

By Jean-Claude Elias - Nov 07,2019 - Last updated at Nov 07,2019

Scientists like to remind us that most everything in this world is numbers in the end. In a more tangible manner, if there is anything that certainly goes by numbers it is digital technology and the Internet associated with it. We enjoy using it, sometime emotionally, forgetting that indeed it is all about numbers.

It is interesting to think of these numbers every now and then, if only from a historical viewpoint, and perhaps to let ourselves be impressed – or to impress our friends and family — a little. Here is a collection of these numbers, just for thought.

Computer processors speed has increased by a 10,000 factor over 20 years.

Intel’s consumer computer processor i9, currently the fastest in the series, can process 200 billion operations per second (i.e. GFLOPS, or Giga Floating Point Operations per Second). 

The price per gigabyte of disk storage now is 50 times less than what it was 15 years ago and 150 times less than 20 years ago. A 32GB micro-SD card can store 30,000 high quality photos and costs a trifle JOD 4 in Amman computer stores.

The price of LCD/LED/OLED flat screens TVs and computer monitors is about one quarter of what it used to be eight years ago, for same size screens.

In Jordan the Internet average speed offered to subscribers has increased 50 fold in ten years.

The image resolution of the Kodak DCS200, one of the very first digital cameras, back in 1992, was a humble 1.5 megapixel (MP). Today PhaseOne XF IQ4 features 150 MP, the highest in the world, and most high-end smartphones feature 16 MP cameras.

The Internet world is powered by an estimated 75 million muscular computer servers running 24/7. Microsoft and Google take the lion share with about 1 million servers each.

Sixy-five billion WhatsApp messages are sent every day. This number clearly illustrates the importance WhatsApp has taken in our life and explains, even if perhaps only partially, why the Lebanese people took to the streets a few days ago when the authorities announced they would impose a charge for using the messenger application. Following the mass protests the decision was quickly reversed!

People spend an average six hours per day using the Internet. The Philippines is where you find the most addicted people and Japan the least.

Internet penetration is highest in Northern America and Northern Europe, with 95 per cent, and the lowest in Middle Africa, with 12 per cent.

The number of mobile phone users in the world is now 4.7 billion. Given that the world population has just reached 7.7 billion this November, this means that 61 per cent of the Earth total population uses mobile phones.

Skype has 300 million active users and the software application already has been downloaded over a billion times.

The average smartphone today has about twice to four times more memory, processing power and image resolution than the typical laptop computer only twelve years ago.

Last April Spotify, the leading music streaming service from Sweden, reached 210 million subscribers.

On the lighter side, the average price of paid Android apps, on Google Play online store, is a humble $5.

USB4, the latest version of the USB standard, can move data at the speed of 5GB/s, which is the approximate equivalent of 50 MP3 songs — in one second!

The estimated number of web sites in the world is 1.7 billion now. Strangely, there were slightly more sites in 2017 than in 2018, but then it increased again this year.

The numbers were compiled from various sources: internetlivestats.com, quora.com, statista.com, Wikipedia, Microsoft, Intel, the United Nations, cnet.com, wearesocial.com, retailers of computer and IT accessories in Amman, and other web-based knowledge databases.

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