Use of the mobile Internet may be in its infancy, but one group is embracing the technology in a big way, according to a figures released Tuesday.
Eighty-five percent of iPhone owners searched the Web for news and information using their slick phones in January, making the device the most popular for accessing online information while on the go, according to M:Metrics. "The iPhone has certainly delivered on its hype," Mark Donovan, senior analyst for M:Metrics, said while releasing the figures. "Beyond a doubt, this device is compelling consumers to interact with the mobile Web, delivering off-the-charts usage from everything to text messaging to mobile video."
If that's not enough, 30.9% of iPhone owners watched television or video on their devices, according to M:Metrics' January survey. That compares with a 4.6% market average. More than 74% listen to music, while the market average for listening to music from mobile subscribers is at a paltry 6.7%, the company said. And 84% of iPhone owners who use an MP3 player use iPods, according to the survey.
The survey found that 49.7% of iPhone owners visit social networking sites -- 12 times as much as the market average -- and 58.6% conduct Web searches, compared with a 6.1% market average.
IPhone users also represent an appealing demographic for advertisers, since, like other smartphone owners, they're more likely than other mobile device owners to earn $100,000 annually and have college degrees, M:Metrics found.
"While the demographics of iPhone users are very similar to all smartphone owners, the iPhone is outpacing other smartphones in driving mobile content consumption by a significant margin," Donovan said. Donovan credits the phone's widgets with driving visits to YouTube and Google Maps. More than 30% of iPhone owners visited YouTube, while 1% of all mobile subscribers accessed YouTube, the survey found. Thirty-six percent viewed Google Maps, compared with 2.6% of all mobile subscribers.
The iPhone's design and marketing are strong, and customer enthusiasm is high, but Donovan indicated that those factors alone aren't responsible for the higher rates of mobile Internet use.
"In addition to the attributes of the device itself, another important factor to consider is the fact that all iPhones on AT&T are attached to an unlimited data plan," he explained. "Our data shows that once the fear of surprise data charges is eliminated, mobile content consumption increases dramatically, regardless of device."