News for Digital Journalists

July 07, 2010

Mobile internet access is now mainstream, Pew research shows

Here’s further proof why news organizations need a robust mobile strategy now: According to research published today by the Pew Internet and American Life Project (Mobile Access 2010) in the past year 40% of US cell phone users accessed the internet from their phones—and more than half of them do so daily. This is a sharp jump: last year, only 25% of cell users reported mobile internet access.

Speaking of strategic considerations, where will your future audience be? A strong majority (65%) of cell users aged 18-29 reported using their phones for internet access. Not far behind, 40% of cell users aged 30-49 also are going online from their phones…

African Americans and Latinos continue to lead the charge on US mobile internet use, says Pew: “Cell phone ownership is higher among African-Americans and Latinos than among whites (87% vs. 80%) and minority cell phone owners take advantage of a much greater range of their phones’ features… In total, 64% of African-Americans access the internet from a laptop or mobile phone, up from the 57% who did so at a similar point in 2009.”

Another point with clear implications for how cell phones can bridge the mobile digital divide: This year, 46% of cell users earning $30,000 or less per year reported accessing the internet from their phones—up from 35% last year. Also, 20% of cell users report that their phone is their sole internet access tool. People with lower incomes tend not to buy fancy smartphones with costly data plans; they tend to use inexpensive feature phones with simple web browsers and limited/no ability to run apps. This is why lean mobile strategies (such as WAP sites, which I discussed yesterday) should be an important part of any news organization’s online strategy.

Besides the mobile web, other internet-based functions are also becoming commonplace among cell phone users: 34% reported using e-mail from their phones this year (up from 25% last year), and 30% reported using mobile instant messaging (from 20% last year). These features, plus podcasting or streaming audio/video, call-in audio, and text/multimedia messaging also can be important parts of a robust mobile news strategy.

Comments

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In every election, there should be fairness and equality. No bias should be made. We all need leaders who will win because they deserved to be and not because they needed to be. Early poll outcomes for Election 2010 might be off just a bit, due to a prejudice that http://personalmoneystore.com/moneyblog/2010/11/02/cell-phone-effect-election-2010/“title=“Exactly what the cell phone effect signifies to Election 2010” ]Pew Research[/url] has dubbed the “cell phone effect”. As the NY Times puts it, about a quarter of American adults use mobile phones exclusively. As many poll individuals don’t call cell phones, Pew believes that the results can be skewed by as many as four points.


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