My wife and I just got back from 3 weeks in Europe. One of my favorite things about travel is how it challenges what I believe to be a general convention. Travel gives you a view into how people in different places think or act differently.
What I see everyday in the US, it looks like every person is using either an iPhone or an android smart phone. Based on experience it would be easy to say most people in the world would be the same. That means everyone has access to an app ecosystem or a browser and a large screen to view web sites. If that how it is here, why would it be different in Europe? We are very similar in many ways and globalization has brought us much closer together.
In fact in Hungary, most people I saw (non-travelers) were using classic cell phones. Just a number pad, with a screen only slightly larger than a regular cell phone. Browser? Not a great one, if they have one at all. iPhones were almost non-existent. I’m sure income levels have a lot to do with it. If you only make €7,000 a year, spending nearly €700 on a phone isn’t very practical.
The US is a huge commercial market and you definitely want to focus energy on it, but when we’re building products or web sites, it’s important to remember that there is still a large portion of the world population using much more basic devices. It’s really easy to forget.