The number of people using their mobile devices to access online news and other information on a daily basis is rising sharply, according to a report issued March 16 by marketing research firm comScore.
Between January 2008 and January 2009, the number of people who used their devices every day more than doubled, from 10.8 million to 22.4 million.
The total number of people accessing their news and information via mobile - whether daily, weekly or at some point during a given month - was just less than 63.2 million people in January 2009.
Some 8.2 million users downloaded maps, making that the most popular downloadable application; about 14.1 million users utilized their SMS-based news and information access for search, making that the most-favored use.
"Over the course of the past year, we have seen use of mobile Internet evolve from an occasional activity to being a daily part of people's lives," Mark Donovan, senior vice president of mobile for comScore, said in a statement. "This underscores the growing importance of the mobile medium as consumers become more reliant on their mobile devices to access time-sensitive and utilitarian information."
With regard to demographics, the most regular users of mobile news and information were males in the 18- to 34-year-old range. Some 40 percent of females between the ages of 18 and 24 used mobile Internet, as well.
"We also note that much of the growth in news and information usage is driven by the increased popularity of downloaded applications, such as those offered for the iPhone, and by text-based searches," Donovan said in the report. "While smartphones and high-end feature phones, like the Samsung Instinct and LG Dare, comprise the Top 10 devices used for news and information access, 70 percent of those accessing mobile Internet content are using feature phones."
As mobile devices have gained in processing power, an increasingly mobile work force has begun relying on their smartphones for many of the functions traditionally reserved for laptops.
Devices such as the soon-to-be-released Palm Pre have exponentially increased the functionality of mobile devices. Nonetheless, the global economic climate has also weighed down this sector of the IT industry, with earnings for companies such as Palm on the decline.