Here are some interesting findings on wireless Internet use, just published by the Pew Internet and American Life Project (my emphasis added):
An April 2009 survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project shows that 56% of adult Americans have accessed the internet by wireless means, such as using a laptop, mobile device, game console, or MP3 player. The most prevalent way people get online using a wireless network is with a laptop computer; 39% of adults have done this.
The report also finds rising levels of Americans using the internet on a mobile handset. One-third of Americans (32%) have used a cell phone or Smartphone to access the internet for emailing, instant-messaging, or information-seeking. This level of mobile internet is up by one-third since December 2007, when 24% of Americans had ever used the internet on a mobile device. On the typical day, nearly one-fifth (19%) of Americans use the internet on a mobile device, up substantially from the 11% level recorded in December 2007. That’s a growth of 73% in the 16 month interval between surveys.
The report summary highlights the following:
- 56% of all Americans have accessed the internet by wireless means.
- Use of the internet on mobile devices has grown sharply from the end of 2007 to the beginning of 2009.
- African Americans are the most active users of the mobile internet – and their use of it is also growing the fastest. This means the digital divide between African Americans and white Americans diminishes when mobile use is taken into account.
- Broader measures of use of mobile digital resources also show fast growth from the end of 2007 to the beginning of 2009.
- Other access devices – iPods, game consoles, or e-books – for now play a small role in people’s wireless online habits.
- When mobile users are away from home or the office, they like mobile access to stay in touch with others, but also to access information on the go.
So what should we make of this?? Given the current trends in mobile, these outcomes are not that surprising; the third one is an interesting one. With regards to device use, Pew mentions laptops but not netbooks, unless that’s what they mean by e-books. It is also strange to still see them using the word “handheld” which seems very out of place and obsolete in the report. The last finding shows that technology users tend to work across a variety of devices, which reminds me of some of the work we’ve done in ubiquitous computing. And of course it goes to show the power of mobile when we’re, well, mobile.
If only education would take heed just a little more……