The Mobile Internet is always on - and always active

September 2, 2009: 8:00 AM ET

Consumers transfer their PC habits to handsets, then proceed to do even more online.

Simpson: Mobility ups the ante for Internet usage. Photo: Novarra

Simpson: Mobility ups the ante for Internet usage. Photo: Novarra

By Bruce Simpson, CEO, Novarra

Forget about webmail: Social networking and content sharing sites like Facebook, Flickr and Craigslist are now the most visited Internet sites on mobile devices, according to recent usage data from my company, which provides mobile Internet software.

Social media are redefining what it means to be constantly connected and accelerating the transition of the mobile Internet from merely "always on," to "always on, always active." This new paradigm promises to have a significant impact on society, enabling consumers to communicate anytime, anywhere – proactively.

At first blush this seems like a classic situation where everybody wins: Consumers are eager to transfer PC web habits to mobile. In one recent study, 30% of 16- to 35-year-olds accessed Facebook and Twitter via their mobile devices.

But unlike PCs (and even bulky laptops), the four billion mobile phones deployed globally are with consumers at all times; this means the so-called "window of engagement" on mobile devices is 20 to 30 times greater than on computers. More

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