According to comScore, the number of people who accessed news and information sites from their mobile phones in the U.S. more than doubled from January 2008 to January 2009. ComScore estimates that about 63 million people accessed mobile news and information sites from their mobile devices in January 2009, and about a third of these did so on a daily basis. The mobile Internet is clearly becoming a mainstream phenomenon, though it needs to be noted that a large number of these users don't use the mobile Web, but rely on SMS-based services.
While news and information services (and comScore includes search services in this category) were clearly the most popular activities for mobile Internet users, the number of users who accessed social networking sites and blogs grew the fastest (427%). Trading stocks and accessing financial information, as well as searching for movie information and accessing entertainment news were also among the top activities in the news and information category.
Fred Wilson points out that Americans who accessed the Internet from their desktops and laptops were responsible for about 192 million monthly uniques, which, if we trust comScore's numbers, would mean that the mobile web is now close to 1/3 the size of the 'wired' web. Developers who ignore the mobile clearly do so at their own peril, and thanks to the rising popularity of smartphones, this trend towards accessing the Internet from mobile devices will surely only accelerate.
However, comScore also notes that while 22.3 million people accessed news and information services through a downloadable application, 32.4 million used SMS. While smartphones are indeed getting more popular, comScore also found that 70% of those users who accessed mobile Internet sources did so on standard feature phones.
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