Nielsen Says E-Mail Still Rules iPhone, Android, Blackberry

Nielsen's survey of 200,000 mobile Web users from June 2009 to June 2010 indicated that e-mail use devoured 41.6 percent of mobile Web users' time. That's a lot of messaging on Apple's iPhone, Google's Android devices and RIM's BlackBerry smartphones.

Social networking on Facebook, Twitter and other Websites may dominate on the desktop, but time spent consuming e-mail rules the roost on mobile devices in the United States, according to Nielsen.

A survey of 200,000 mobile Web users from June 2009 to June 2010 indicated that e-mail use ate up 41.6 percent of mobile Web users' time.

This Nielsen clock/pie chart shows how mobile Web users spend an hour on their mobile devices, such as BlackBerry devices, Apple's iPhone or smartphones based on Google's Android operating system.

Note that users spent on average 25 minutes in an hour using e-mail, or three and one-half times as much as the 7 minutes the average respondent spent on Web portals such as Yahoo or MSN. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter consumed 6 minutes of the average mobile Web user's time.

That e-mail is a big deal on mobile devices should come as no surprise.

Research In Motion's BlackBerry devices comprise the bulk of smartphones in the United States, grabbing 35 percent of the market. BlackBerry keyboards are first class and consumers and corporate road warriors alike use BlackBerry devices for frequent e-mailing.

Apple's virtual keyboard on its iPhone has always been an inviting tool for e-mailing and its latest iPhone 4 should boost the Apple cachet despite the attenuation issues.

And while the keys on the virtual keyboards of Android devices such as the Motorola Droid feel pinched and narrow, the keyboard on the Motorola Droid X is the best yet on an Android handset.

Mobile Web users also like to watch a lot of video clips from YouTube and even movies on their smartphones, with a 20 percent increase in activity from June 2009, Nielsen found. This growth led to 20 percent drops in time spent accessing news and sports Websites.

Of course, the desktop presents a different story.

While e-mail reigned on mobile devices, social networking and online games have eclipsed Web portals and e-mail in use.

From June 2009 to June 2010, the the amount of time users spent on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social sites grew from 16 to 23 percent.

Nielsen analyst Dave Martin commented about this finding:

"Although we see similar characteristics amongst PC and mobile Internet use, the way their activity is allocated is still pretty contrasting."

"While convergence will continue, the unique characteristics of computers and mobiles, both in their features and when and where they are used mean that mobile Internet behavior mirroring its PC counterpart is still some way off."