updated 03:25 pm EDT, Fri April 11, 2008
ABI on Mobile Browsers
Continuing a string of research on the cellphone industry, ABI Research today said in a new report that it expects the use of mobile webbrowsers to grow ten times its size in the next five years. The analysis firm estimates that 76 million copies of browsers were in use by the end of 2007 but that this should grow to 700 million by 2013. The surge is credited to a surge in smartphone use, which is expected to bring full web browsing as well as a greater number of mobile-oriented websites.
This is being helped along by a greater number of mobile web browsers that find ways around the processing power and size limits of current phones. Some more limited devices can use browsers like Opera Mini to have a remote server optimize the site; more powerful devices can also do much of the work themselves, ABI notes. This includes WebKit-based browsers such as Safari on the iPhone as well as Nokia's stock browser for newer Symbian Series 60 phones.
The research firm nonetheless warns that success may be dependent on certain improvements to browser technology. Many mobile browsers currently lack some form of Adobe's Flash plugin, while most phones aren't fast enough to perform some web tasks on their own, limiting the web features they can implement.
At the recent Smartphone Summit, analysts credited the iPhone as growing smartphone sales in general by creating interest among home users rather than the smartphone's traditional business market.