updated 09:00 am EDT, Mon March 16, 2009
Mobile Inet Use Doubles
Research firm comScore this morning revealed that day-to-day Internet use on cellphones in the US has roughly doubled in the past year. Where about 10.8 million users are known to have visited the mobile web at least once a day in January 2008, about 22.4 million were doing the same at the start of 2009. Large jumps also occurred for once-a-week visitors, who surged from 10.3 million people to 19.2 million, while those who accessed the Internet at least once a month climbed from 36.9 million to 63.1 million.
Most of these were accessing news or other basic information, though comScore notes that there were major increases in the uses of more specific information. Social networking in particular exploded and saw use grow about 427 percent to where 9.3 million users regularly check sites like Facebook or Twitter. Other but less dramatic jumps have taken place for those checking financial information on their phones, checking movie showtimes, looking up businesses or checking entertainment news.
Significantly, though, comScore cautions that devices like the iPhone only have a partial effect on the results. While not checking the relative amount of traffic, the research team notes that only about 30 percent of US devices tracked are smartphones. The remaining 70 percent are limited "feature" phones and include both traditional budget phones as well as high-end but ultimately limited feature phones like Verizon's LG Dare or Sprint's Samsung Instinct.
Most of these mobile Internet requests have been made through text searching, though comScore adds that the iPhone's App Store and similar portals encourage much heavier use of the Internet by online third-party apps.