Mobile web use now the norm

Ian Paul
9 July, 2010
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Wireless internet use in the US grew by 80 percent over last year, with 59 percent of adults over eighteen years old now using wireless devices regularly. That’s according to new data from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. The Pew Center surveyed 2,252 people asking them about their daily online habits and how often they access the internet using a laptop’s Wi-Fi or mobile broadband connection, or via a mobile device.

The Pew study found that 47 percent of those surveyed use a laptop Wi-Fi connection to get online, up from 39 percent last year. Forty percent used the internet through a mobile phone, and 47 percent of those surveyed regularly used both a mobile handset and a laptop to get online. Forty-three percent of those surveyed said they went online with a laptop or mobile device several times a day, and another 12 percent did the same at least once a day.

Perhaps thanks to the popularity of smartphones like Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android platform, wireless internet access for leisure or entertainment purposes is growing. The majority of those surveyed, 76 percent, said they used their wireless devices to take photos, and 54 percent of respondents used their handsets to send someone else a photo or video.

Text messaging remains popular with 72 percent of respondents using SMS regularly, and 38 percent of those surveyed used their phone’s web browser to access the internet — up from 25 percent in 2009. Other popular uses included gaming, music, instant messaging, and recording videos. Interestingly, only 34 percent of respondents said they used their mobile device to send or receive email. Also, despite the popularity of Facebook, only 23 percent said they used their device to access a social network, and only 10 percent said they used their phone to send or receive status messages on services like Twitter.

The younger generation continues to dominate the wireless age with 84 percent of those aged eighteen to twenty-nine years old using laptops and cell phones. The second largest group of wireless users were those aged thirty to forty-nine years old at 69 percent, and 49 percent of adult Americans aged fifty to sixty-four years old used wireless internet access. The Pew Center’s study also said that Wi-Fi and mobile device use grew the most among college graduates and adults earning less than US$30,000 a year.

If you’d like to check out the Pew Center’s full wireless access report, you can find it here.

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