The consumption of mobile data services, including search, has steadily increased year over year as indicated by the use of email and web from mobile phones such as the Apple iPhone and RIM BlackBerry. US mobile internet search usage rose 14 percent in 2008.
According to surveys conducted by ABI Research in 2007 and 2008, 70 percent of respondents used their mobile phones to access information through Internet search engines last year.
That jump in mobile search usage is nearly double the increase in users who said they accessed mobile websites generally.
"Mobile search represents a utility for information anytime and anywhere," said senior ABI analyst Jeff Orr. "With a few keywords, one can quickly identify movie times, the discography of a musical artist, recommendations for a local eatery and so much more."
News, game downloads, music downloads, and especially video downloads accessed via mobile phones rose in popularity from 2007 to 2008. A significantly lower percentage in 2008 reported downloading a ringtone than the prior year, while the interest in location information, social networking and sports remained about the same.
"Use of the mobile phone goes well beyond voice calls," said Orr. "A significant percentage of respondents say they use their handset for mobile email and web access, reflecting the broader access to inexpensive or all-you-can-eat mobile data services in the US."
The "US Mobile Email and Mobile Web Access Trends" surveys, each of which sampled more than 1,000 mobile phone users in the US aged 14-59 and across a wide range of demographic profiles, were conducted in November 2007 and December 2008. They queried users' preferences with regard to a variety of mobile email and web usage questions.
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