Mobile internet usage is exploding as can be seen in several NetMarketShare reports. The Browsing by Device Type report (see below) shows that mobile internet usage has now grown to 2.6% for August 2010. It was 0.94% for August 2009, so has more than doubled in a year’s time. It could easily surpass 5% by this time next year.

I believe the introduction of the original iPhone initiated the mobile browsing phenomenon. It just wasn’t easy enough or attractive enough to access the internet from mobile devices before the iPhone. Apple’s success has opened quite a few eyes from their competition, and Google Android-based devices have become the most serious competition to date (although Windows Phone 7 devices are coming soon).

So, how does the explosion in mobile affect search? Or, perhaps the better question is how do search engines respond to the explosion in mobile growth?

To date, Google owns an even greater market share in mobile search than it does when looking at all device types. That may simply be due to Google’s being available first on the iPhone, and being integrated with Android. But, Bing and other search engines trying to grow market share in mobile have an almost monopolistic market leader to take on in Google. They have to demonstrate markedly better features and/or performance to even make a dent at this point. Bing does have an opportunity if Windows Phone 7 devices can penetrate the smartphone market far better than previous Windows devices. Or, if there is a shift in search perception. With so many people spending so much more of their online time on facebook and other social sites. Search from within social sites, and with a social focus, could be the largest threat to the Google search empire on any device type. The Windows Phone 7 demonstrations I’ve seen show a strong social focus, and if that can integrate search seamlessly along with market penetration, then Microsoft becomes an even greater search threat as well.

What does surprise me a bit, is that Apple hasn’t come out with their own search engine. That would be a game changer as well because they have such tight control over iOS. They could simply ban other search engine apps, forcing users to run the browser to use a different search engine.

The mobile browsing market is just taking shape, and it will be quite intriguing to see what the tech titans offer in the future as well as how the market responds to these offers.

One Response to “Apple iOS with a nearly 6:1 lead in usage over Google Android”

  1. hasn’t come out with their own search engine. That would be a game changer as well because they have such tight control over ……..

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