Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mobile-to-Web adoption in a word: faster

Here's an update to a post earlier this month:

While Morgan Stanley sees mobile devices surpassing desktop PCs within five years as the preferred method to connect to the Internet, Gartner is laying bets on just three years.

The Stamford, Conn.-based information technology research firm released its 2010 IT predictions, including this one: "By 2013, mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web-access device worldwide."

Gartner crunched the numbers and sees 1.78 billion PCs in use by 2013, vs. 1.82 billion units of smartphones and browser-equipped "enhanced" phones. What's more, the company says, that surpremacy will continue "thereafter."

The predicted adoption rate "does change everything," says Steve Smith, writing in minonline, a media industry watcher. "Mobile users do not click as often on sites from a mobile browser," he says. "Publishers without a credible mobile presence will lose that mobile traffic."

And then there's this Gartner finding cited by Smith: "Web sites not optimized for the smaller-screen formats will become a market barrier for their owners."

But Smith says some early adopters have found a financial benefit to fee-based apps: In the last month, The Guardian, a U.K-based newspaper and website, saw its $3.99 iPhone app downloaded almost 69,000 times. (It gets about 30 percent of the sales revenue, Smith says.)

It's just more evidence that newspapers that haven't gone mobile better hurry up and get with the app.

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