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Smartphone Use Increasing

Thu Nov 6, 2008 - 10:44 AM EST - By Jay Gross

Consumers finally gravitating to smartphones and using the mobile Internet, according to a new study by the Kelsey Group. Titled "Mobile Market View," the study found that 18.9 percent of consumers surveyed had a smartphone, and 49.2 percent planned to buy one within the next two years.

Smartphones are not new. This level of acceptance is. Maybe the increase has something to do with the difficulty of texting with a 10-key candybar phone. Or not. The study also found that these smartphone users had a marked increase in the level of mobile search activity. About 18 percent downloaded or looked at map directions on the handset, an increase from 10.8 percent in 2007. There were also significant increases in the number of mobile subscribers who searched for products, movie and entertainment information. Mobile social networking also went up.

According to Kelsey, consumers increasingly use their handsets to access the Internet.

Kelsey's senior vice-president, Matt Booth:

"We believe the introduction of more user-friendly smartphones is ushering in a new mobile paradigm where devices now offer an Internet experience that is as easy as traditional voice connectivity´┐Ż The implication is that users will increasingly turn to their smartphones for local commercial and social search experiences, and the data certainly suggest this is already happening."

The study's results were reported in Information Week this week by Marin Perez. Meanwhile, Bango, a company that sells software to track mobile visits to a website, reported that half of the 20 most trafficked websites are not optimized for mobile browsers. Their survey says mobile web users now account for an average of 5 percent of all site visitors.

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