Full-featured browsers on smartphones see strongest growth

While growth of web usage is up across all mobile device classes, one of the biggest areas of growth has been smartphones. Market research company, ABI sees this growth continuing over the next five years, with highly capable Internet browsers on smartphones expanding from 130 million in 2008 to 530 million by 2013.

“From the strong growth in ad-calls for ad networks such as Admob to the astounding increases in page views for Opera Mini, it’s very clear that consumers have embraced the use of the web on mobile devices,” said research director Michael Wolf.

“The increase in awareness of the web on mobile devices – due to the iPhone and new RIM models – has helped contribute to this growth, as has the continued move towards flat-rate data plans by many mobile operators.”

In addition to more capable devices, consumers’ desire to access popular web applications such as web search, social networking and online/mobile video is giving rapid rise to both pre-installation and aftermarket downloads of capable mobile browsers.

But the report authors contends that much more work needs to be done to create a seamless experience for mobile users trying to access the broader Internet for rich media applications.

“Three-screen playback is motivating plug-in vendors such as Adobe, Microsoft and Google to put significant development into the mobile device side to enable a consistent experience across all three screens,” said Wolf.

“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.”

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