The smartphone is taking over the web

The smartphone is taking over the web

Summary: A recent survey by the Pew Research Center shows that the smartphone is rapidly becoming a primary method that Americans use to access the Internet.

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The tech community is often buzzing about high-tech tablets, notebooks and desktop computers, but a recent survey by the Pew Research Center shows that the smartphone is rapidly becoming one of the main methods that Americans use to access the Internet. A full 35 percent of all adults in the U. S. now own smartphones, and 68 percent of them use them to get on the web every day. That is a lot of web access, but even more surprising is that a full 25 percent of smartphone owners now use them as their primary method to access the web and not computers.

The rise of the smartphone as web access tool is aided by the steady improvement of mobile web browsers on smartphones. Web access on every smartphone platform is pretty darn good, and in spite of the small screens on phones they are still very useful methods to get information from the Internet. Pinching and zooming makes it easy to get to the pertinent information on the small screen, and as most mobile browsers now do a good job providing a desktop browser-like experience the smartphone is a solid web appliance.

The proliferation of smartphone apps also plays a significant role in smartphone web access, as a good app can dramatically improve online access tailored for the small display. Many major news outlets now have apps, often free, that deliver the "sound-bite" news we have grown conditioned to expect. Give us the top news in a minute or two is what we want, and smartphone apps deliver that perfectly.

Smartphone adoption has grown steadily over the past few years, and that will continue as more folks get exposed to them. Even folks who claim they have no need to access the web with a phone often change their tune once exposed to the technology. The ability to jump on the web easily to get needed information is a powerful thing, and aided by the fact that owners always have the smartphone close at hand.

Topics: Smartphones, Browser, Hardware, Mobility

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13 comments
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  • RE: The smartphone is taking over the web

    Growth in smartphone use and web access is to be expected, but with carriers holding the leash with data caps, sooner or later that growth is going to hit a nasty overage ceiling.

    A more interesting figure to see would be, of that 25%, how many access the web via tethering/hotspot.
    lgpOnTheMove
  • Bandwidth question

    What is the mobile wireless spectrum capacity in any given cell phone tower area? Given high population densities and high future mobile internet access, do we have a future problem or not?<br><br>I guess we can make the cells smaller and smaller to reduce the load on individual cells, but I am curious about the big picture.
    Economister
  • RE: The smartphone is taking over the web

    Only for some quick browsing. The heavy lift browsing happens on big screen devices. Smartphone is not taking over the web, its just another medium to reach it, no big deal.
    owlnet
    • Message has been deleted.

      GoPower
    • RE: The smartphone is taking over the web

      @owlnet The issue is a lot little bits add up, plus there are some apps like pandora which eat big chunks of data.
      @economister I think there is a bigger concern. Everyone is screaming foul with the carriers dumping unlimited data plans in favor of tiered models, but they know this data better than anyone. Tiered plans are as much about bandwidth limitations as they are about greed. Don't take that to mean I support tiered data plans, just calling as I see it.
      jhuddle
  • Smartphones are computers

    From the article:
    "... a full 25 percent of smartphone owners now use them as their primary method to access the web and not computers.

    Not only are smartphones computers, they are also the most personal of PCs (at the present time). The apps available for smartphones today completely blow away those available for early PCs from the 1970/80s.

    And don't let the 'phone' part of 'smartphone' fool you. There's plenty of software available now to provide a desktop or laptop PC with the capability of of a phone.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
  • RE: The smartphone is taking over the web

    This article is deceptively worded. 35% of Americans have smartphones, and 25% OF THAT use it as their primary connection. That means ~8.5% use it as their primary connection. Hardly surprising.
    DJThuht
    • RE: The smartphone is taking over the web

      @DJThuht No deception at all "a full 25 percent of smartphone owners". Couldn't be clearer.
      JamesKendrick
  • RE: The smartphone is taking over the web

    I have completely turned around to wireless. My desktops are about useless now, I won't be upgrading my laptop.
    My smartphone gives me all the internet access I need and I can create my own hotspots. So the next thing is a tablet for the larger screen when needed connected to my phone's hotspot. I like it.
    Aboleyn
    • RE: The smartphone is taking over the web

      @Aboleyn PS: I guess that's the end of Windows too since Android runs a linux kernel.
      Aboleyn
  • What mobile Internet strategies will companies take?

    We're conducting a survey to find out the future direction of mobile internet and whether web or apps will dominate. If you support us with our survey we will send you a summary of the results and you could win an Apple iPad 2. http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FTFNZHR
    kejdouglas58
  • RE: The smartphone is taking over the web

    Perfect! ZDNet has this very true article on the blog. But when I tried to update my email address on ZDNet on my Evo 4G, it failed miserably! Had to go to a REAL PC. "Do as I say, not as I do", eh?
    stevet@...
  • RE: The smartphone is taking over the web

    I am not surprised. I would say that for a majority of users, that the smartphone will replace notebook computers for all their web accessing needs.
    jfreedle2@...