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Report: Mobile Video, Search, Social Networking Fuel Smartphone Internet Browser Growth


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November 13, 2008

Report: Mobile Video, Search, Social Networking Fuel Smartphone Internet Browser Growth

By Michael Dinan, TMCnet Editor

The number of Internet browsers on smartphones is expected to grow from 130 million this year to 530 million by 2013, researchers are reporting today.

According to officials at IT market firm ABI Research, the rapid growth of the mobile Web on devices such as smartphones and cell phones has been a bright spot for the telecommunications market in 2008.
The firm’s research director, Michael Wolf, said that from the strong growth in ad-calls for ad networks such as Admob, to increases in page views for Opera Mini, it’s clear that consumers have embraced the use of the Web on mobile devices.
“The increase in awareness of the web on mobile devices – due to the iPhone (News - Alert) and new RIM models – has helped contribute to this growth, as has the continued move towards flat-rate data plans by many mobile operators,” Wolf said.
The rise of touchscreen-capable devices such as the iPhone, new BlackBerry (News - Alert) Storm, and widely anticipated Google Android phone from T-Mobile USA, are helping fuel the proliferation of the mobile Web.
As TMCnet reported today, a venerable news service announced this week that it’s relying on the mobile Web’s popularity as it takes a major step forward in modern mobile communications by launching new multimedia services for wireless users.
Officials with The Associated Press say their new “Mobile News Network” brings local, national, international, business, entertainment, sports and other news from more than 1,000 participating media organizations, supplemented by AP text, photos and videos.
To capture Virgin’s younger mobile Web-browsing demographic, two sites, “AP Entertainment” and “Can You Believe It?” – also called “CUBI” and featuring quirky stories – are now accessible by to company customers from the VirginXL on-deck homepage.
The Mobile News Network is the first product released by the AP’s so-called “digital cooperative” – an effort designed to bring AP members’ information to new digital outlets. Shown at right on a mobile device, the network is touted by AP officials as a way for local news organizations to increase revenue by introducing interactive content to younger viewers, building brands and offering news around-the-clock.
According to Wolf’s 34-page report, “The Mobile Browser Market,” popular Web applications such as searching, social networking and mobile video – such as mobile videos offered on platforms from companies such as Framingham, Massachusetts-based NMS Communications Corp. – are fueling pre-installation and after-market downloads of capable mobile browsers.
Here’s how NMS diagrams its video access architecture:
Yet more work needs to be done to create a seamless experience for mobile users seeking access to the broader Internet, ABI officials say.
According to Wolf, three-screen playback is motivating plug-in vendors such as Adobe, Microsoft (News - Alert) and Google to put significant development into the mobile device side to enable a consistent experience across all three screens.
“Investment in content access and playback both in browsers and Web-based applications across various devices will help to continue this market’s future growth,” Wolf said.

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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan

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