An April 2009 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project asked respondents whether they had used a variety of devices – laptops, cell phones, game consoles, and more – to go online using a wireless network. Altogether, 56% of Americans said they have at some point used wireless means for online access.
- 39% of all Americans have used a laptop computer to go online wirelessly, making this the most prevalent means of wireless access.
- 32% of all Americans have gotten online with a mobile device – meaning they have used a cell phone or other handheld device to check email, access the internet for information, or send instant messages.
Use of the internet on mobile devices has grown sharply from the end of 2007 to the beginning of 2009.
Together, laptop and mobile wireless access account for the vast majority of wireless access, as 51% of Americans have gotten online using either of these two methods. Some people (19% of Americans) opt for both means of wireless access – portable laptops on fast WiFi networks or handheld access on slower networks from cell carriers.
- In December 2007, 24% of Americans said they had at some point used the internet on their mobile device.
- By April 2009, 32% of Americans said they had at some point used the internet on their mobile device.
- In December 2007, 11% of Americans said they had yesterday accessed the internet on their mobile.
- By April 2009, 19% of Americans said they had yesterday accessed the internet on their mobile.
Internet Access On The Handheld > Trends
Comparing the April survey to a similar survey in 2007, there were strong increases in the incidence of people accessing the internet with their handheld devices. For our purposes, the means using a cell phone or other connected gadget to share email, exchange instant messages, or access the net for information. Among cell phone users:
- In 2007, 14% accessed the internet on a handheld on the typical day and 32% had ever used the internet on their handheld.
- In 2009, 23% accessed the internet on a handheld on the typical day and 38% had ever used the internet on their handheld.
Mobile Access To Data And Information > Trends
The figures for use of digital resources on the handheld represent increases from December 2007. In 2007, 77% of handheld users had “ever” used their device for at least one non-voice data activity, and 42% said they did at least one “yesterday.” These increases take place in the context of a growth in cell phone penetration from December 2007 to April 2009 from 77% to 85%.
For all adults, this translates into:
- An increase from 58% in 2007 to 69% in 2009 in the share of all Americans who have used their handheld device for a non-voice data application. This is a growth of 16%.
- An increase from 32% in 2007 to 44% in 2009 in the share of all Americans who, on the average day, use a non-voice data application on their handheld. This is a growth of 36% over the sixteen month interval.
Other data underscore the growth in people’s use of their cell phone for non-voice data activities. The average number of activities engaged in on a typical day in 2007 was 0.90, a figure that grew to 1.31 in 2009, or an increase of 46% among cell users.
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