Barry Welford, from StayGoLinks, points out that according to the International Telecommunication Union, there has been a staggering worldwide growth in cell phone usage. This should not come as a surprise to anyone; I bet even your seven-year-old daughter owns a cell phone by now. Take a look for yourself:
Now, although many cell phone users have browsers on their phones, let’s face it, you can’t do a lot of browsing on a flip phone. Personally, I have a nervous breakdown every time I try to type in the URL into a phone with no QWERTY keyboard. Thank goodness for my Treo 650!
So how many people actually own a smart-phone? According to M:Metrics’ July 2006 study, the US is way behind the Europeans in smart-phone usage, with only 2% in smart phone penetration. The good news is that over 54% of US smart-phone owners browse the Internet.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but after we subtract gadget freaks, computer geeks (unless they are your target audience, of course) and maybe a few teenagers who “text” all the time, we are not left with much.
For now, web browsing on the cell phone is an agony, even if you own a smart-phone. Businesses will not be encouraged to optimize their website for mobile phones until more people start browsing the Web on their phones. On the other hand, users won’t use mobile Internet until websites become more cell phone friendly. However, for most businesses, it is not yet the time to start worrying about the traffic from mobile devices.