Survey Confirms iPhone Users Are Hard-Core Internet Junkies

Publish date: 19-03-2008
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It's amazing what a halfway-decent browsing experience can do for mobile internet usage. A new study from measurement firm M:Metrics confirms what was pretty much common knowledge: Give users a good phone browser, and they'll flock to the mobile web.

After charting the habits of more than 10,000 adults for six months after the iPhone's U.S. launch, M:Metrics concludes that nearly 85 percent of iPhone purchasers regularly use their handheld device to access news and other content on the web.

Compare that to the 58 percent of total smartphone owners who browse web content and just 13 percent of overall mobile phone users who do, and you get an idea of how much a simple interface can do to inspire usage. You can just picture the design meetings happening at phone manufacturers around the world: "Wait, if we make a web browser that doesn't make users feel like jabbing forks into their eyes, they'll actually want to browse the web?"

The study also found that 59 percent of iPhone users visited a search engine on their phone, compared to 37 percent of smartphone users and a miniscule 6 percent of mobile phone users. This corroborates information Google released last month, which said the search company saw on average 50 times more search requests coming from Apple iPhones than any other mobile handset.

Mark Donovan, an analyst at M:Metrics, says the other major factor in the iPhone's mobile success is AT&T's unlimited data plan for iPhone users. I'm not really convinced here. Sure, the labyrinthine data plans most carriers offered a few years ago were a cold shower for those with mobile internet lust. But almost all U.S. carriers now offer similar all-you-can-eat data packages, and there are plenty of phones out there capable of taking advantage of those plans.

In the end, what continues to separate the iPhone from the rest of the pack is simple: It lets you tool around the web in a way that doesn't really mirror the desktop experience (what with the touching and the pinching), but one that provides you with at least a halfway decent mobile equivalent.

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