The Mobile Internet: We've Only Just Begun

Carl Weinschenk

The introduction of the iPhone is a milestone in the acceptance of the mobile Internet. It is by no means the beginning of the road, however. The clear conclusion of a survey conducted by Coleman Parkes Research for Mformation Technologies is that managers think the mobile Internet is already well established and that the trend is nowhere near peaking.


The survey, covered here in a story at VNUnet, was conducted in the U.K. Indeed, it appears that the landscape in the U.K. tracks very closely with what is happening in the colonies. Coleman Parkes says that 70 percent expect to use mobile VoIP during the next two years and that nine out of 10 companies use some advanced mobile applications today. The report says that most CIOs believe that better management is necessary for the benefits of these applications to be fully realized.


An interesting element of the survey -- and one that points to the potential for growth -- is that 67 percent of managers use mobility today, while only 35 percent of those below the management level do so. The survey found that people lower on the totem pole are expected to gain access going forward in three out of four companies.


This piece at Seeking Alpha ostensibly is about the relative merits of investing in Apple or Google's mobile Internet initiatives. The underlying assumption, however, is that the mobile Internet will be a success. The only point of debate is which company has a better shot at cashing in. For the record, the consensus is that Google is the better bet.


Service providers see this as well. AT&T -- fresh off the iPhone launch -- this week began offering free Wi-Fi access to about 10,000 hotspots in the U.S. The hotspots are in high traffic locales such as McDonalds, Barnes & Noble book stores and sports venues, according to the story in InformationWeek.


Of course, the hype factor is quite high. Analyst Dean Bubley -- while maintaining that he is a big user of the mobile Internet for e-mail and Web access while he is away from the office -- does a lot to dispel the more extravagant claims of mobile Internet proponents. He says that it won't displace or replace the traditional Internet. It will, however, be a powerful supplement and stimulant to creativity.


There are no real surprises in any of this research. As the dust settles from the iPhone launch, however, it pays to note that we are still just at the beginning of the era of the mobile Internet.

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