Surfing in the streets

No one can have failed to notice that Apple unveiled the highly-anticipated iPhone 3G last month. The new faster, cheaper model was launched simultaneously in 21 countries and sold one million phones in just three days.

This new version of the revolutionary handset boasts a sleek design and a wide range of features that have probably made it 2008’s most desirable gadget. However, if this phone is to go down in history, it will be for its enhanced usability, fast web browsing speeds and wireless connectivity capabilities which have rapidly increased our awareness of and interest in mobile internet access.

It has been possible to surf the web on a mobile since 1999, when Nokia launched the first phone which used WAP technology. However, the excruciatingly slow speeds, small screens and clumsy usability of most phones of that generation were just too impractical and frustrating for most users and the number of people surfing the web on the move remained small.

The launch of 3G hailed a new dawn for mobile internet access and a flurry of smartphones appeared on the market making it easier to check email and download web content than ever before.

According to a number of surveys, mobile internet access is shooting up. Vodafone commissioned a recent study which suggested that 40% of adults with a mobile phone used it to access the Internet, whilst nearly 25% of young adults check and update social networking sites from their handset. Mobile advertising company AdMob’s statistics show a 100% growth in mobile web traffic in the 12 months to May 2008.

So what of the future of the mobile web now the iPhone 3G has hit the marketplace? The large touch screen and simple navigation have made web browsing a more pleasurable activity, surely increasing the number of users and providing impetus for other manufacturers to further improve their smartphones. If you study the surveys, there is no sign of the growth in mobile internet access slowing down any time soon. The Internet everywhere has finally arrived.

Posted on 22/08/2008
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