RealTime IT News

Survey: iPhone's For Fun And Games

Though just six months old, the Apple iPhone is emerging as a major driver of mobile Web consumption, while traditional smartphone users remain focused primarily on e-mail and messaging.

According to the M:Metrics January Benchmark Survey released this week, 85 percent of iPhone users accessed online information that month, compared with 58.2 percent of the wider smartphone market.

Additionally, nearly 60 percent of iPhone users conducted online searches, with just 37 percent of smartphone users accessing Web search.

While demographics of the two user groups are very similar, it's clear that iPhone owners want online entertainment and social engagement while users of the BlackBerry and other smartphones don't share the same interests.

The new research aligns with a recent report from Handango regarding smartphone user trends.

M:Metrics, which has been analyzing smartphone use on a monthly basis since 2005, defines smartphones as devices running on Windows, Symbian, Research In Motion (RIM) or Apple OS. In 2005, 2.9 million people owned a smartphone, according to the Seattle-based firm research firm. Today there are 14.3 million smartphone users, and about 12 million are RIM BlackBerry devotees.

The iPhone segment of that market also has gravitated toward mobile multimedia. The group watches more television online, as well as more on-demand video and listening to music than their smartphone counterparts.

The widest disparity between iPhone users and the larger smartphone market is in the two groups' use of online social networking: Nearly half of iPhone owners hit networking sites in January, while just about 20 percent of smartphone users did the same.

Yet just because iPhone users are heavier entertainment and social users, they're also using the device for work-related needs. In January, 43.2 percent accessed work e-mail, according to Seamus McAteer, senior analyst for m:Metrics. That statistic indicates Apple's device is headed for the enterprise, he said in an e-mail to InternetNews.com.

"The iPhone will definitely compete as an enterprise device once it is open to third-party developers who will devise sync technology for [Microsoft's] Exchange," McAteer said.

"The BlackBerry was not pushed by IT," he added. "It snuck in the back door, and the IT department added support and then promoted it. The same thing will undoubtedly happen with other popular smartphones, particularly in segments where Apple has a following such as in education and creative enterprises."