Are You Reaching the Internet from Your Laptop or Your Smart Phone?

An IBM-sponsored survey finds that consumers and enterprise users are beginning to favor mobile devices, such as the Apple iPhone or the types of mobile Internet devices Intel is helping to develop through its Atom processor, for accessing the Internet compared with more standard PCs, including notebooks. The IBM study also finds that by 2011, 39 percent of those surveyed said they expect to increase Internet use on their smart phone or MID by at least 40 percent.

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When it comes to accessing the Internet, more users are turning to their smart phones and other mobile devices rather than traditional PCs, according to a new IBM-sponsored survey released Oct. 23.

The survey, which interviewed 600 consumers in United States, China and the United Kingdom, found that 50 percent of users would rather use a mobile device, such as a smart phone, to access the Internet and use Web-based applications than a more traditional PC. These findings bolster another report, called "Go Mobile, Grow," that IBM's Institute for Business Value commissioned in May.

A summary of the IBM survey can be found here.

The IBM survey focused on how mobile devices, such as traditional cell phones or more enhanced smart phones such as the Apple iPhone or the Research In Motion BlackBerry, compared with traditional desktop PCs and even laptops. The results showed that for Internet access, users preferred mobile devices to PCs and that is expected to increase in the next several years. For example, by 2011, 39 percent of those surveyed said they will increase their Internet use of mobile devices by 40 percent.

The results from the IBM study seem to reflect the growing enthusiasm from both consumers and enterprise users for new types of mobile devices and smart phones. Apple's iPhone has proved widely successful for the company, and other smart phones, from the T-Mobile G1 smart phone that uses Google's Android mobile operating system to the BlackBerry Storm, have also been greeted with enthusiasm.

At the same time, companies such as Intel and Nvidia have looked to create whole, new types of MIDs (mobile Internet devices) that are specifically designed to access the Web. This week, Intel announced that its second-generation platform for MIDs, called "Moorestown," will launch in 2009 or 2010 and use a new system-on-a-chip design-Lincroft-that will include a new 45-nanometer CPU.

While the survey did not distinguish between enterprise users and consumers, Christian Seider, a senior managing consultant for IBM's Institute for Business Value, said consumers are adopting mobile devices much faster than the enterprise. The reasons why vary. However, security, Seider said, is a major concern for businesses and has slowed the adoption of mobile devices.

"Certainly security is one of those big concerns," Seider told eWEEK. "Right now, a lot of these mobile devices do not have a firewall or a virus scanner, and that makes them vulnerable to increasing attacks from hackers."

Other concerns hindering the adoption of mobile devices are cost, both for service and the devices themselves, and the lack of business applications, other than mobile e-mail. Seider said companies such as SAP and Oracle are trying to create specific business applications for smart phones, but most application development is focused on the consumer market for now. (On Oct. 23, Google announced that it had enhanced Gmail for the BlackBerry.)

The IBM survey also found that consumers are much more loyal to applications that they use compared with the devices that those applications run on. About half of those in the survey said they wanted the same applications, whether that is e-mail or IM, to work on both their PC and their mobile device.