Global Internet usage through mobile devices - not including tablets - essentially doubled from 4.3 percent in January 2011 to 8.5 percent in January 2012, according to Web analytics company StatCounter.
StatCounter also reports that the use of "mobile devices", referring to smartphones and feature phones only in their research, to access the Internet has doubled year-over-year since 2009.
"While global Internet usage through mobiles is still under 10 percent, the pace of growth is remarkable," says StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen.
StatCounter also announced the latest numbers regarding the world's leading mobile vendors, mobile operating systems and mobile browsers, based on research covering all traffic to the StatCounter network. That data includes more than 15 billion pageviews monthly on a network of more than 3 million websites.
Most likely driven by its dominance in India, Nokia is still the world's leading maker of mobile devices (again, phones only) in terms of Web pageviews, and Symbian maintained its lead as the top OS in the StatCounter sample. But both brands' numbers are clearly in decline while Apple's devices (not even including the iPad) and iOS are making dramatic gains.
Apple is the second-leading mobile device-maker worldwide but leads the U.S. and U.K. markets, and its iOS was also second worldwide with 24 percent of the Web pageviews in the StatCounter sample. Apple's operating system was first in the U.S. with 45 percent of the views, just ahead of Android with 39 percent. Worldwide, the Android OS was again just below iOS for third place.
The Android browser was tops in North America with a 37-percent share of the pageviews, but second worldwide with 20 percent and behind Opera's 24 percent. Apple's Safari browser finished slightly behind Android in both samples.
The takeaway for website owners is of course the exponential rise in mobile access to the Internet since 2009 - about a 100-percent increase in each of the past three years. This should come as a surprise to no one, but it is interesting to see the numbers from different research reports from time to time. The global use of mobile devices to access the Web in 2009, according to StatCounter, was 0.7 percent. It jumped to 1.6 percent in January 2010, 4.3 percent in January 2011 and now 8.5 percent in January 2012.
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