iPhone Boosts UK Mobile Internet

Three-quarters of users are happy with mobile email on the device – despite its lack of a qwerty keyboard

Users of the Apple handset are nearly twice as likely to consume mobile media than users of other smartphones according to research.

In a report released this week, research company comScore revealed statistics that show 79.7 percent of the UK iphone users surveyed had accessed news and other information via the phone’s browser compared to just 48 percent of users of other smartphones and 19.8 percent of more basic mobile users.

And despite the thousands of applications available on the iPhone from games to a digital spirit level, email remains one of the most popular application for users of the device. Around 75 percent of UK iPhone users accessed mobile email according to comScore compared to 35.4 percent of users of other smartphones.

“Consumers are clearly embracing the iPhone’s touch screen keyboard,” said comScore analyst Alistair Hill. “The penetration of e-mail usage on the iPhone is more than double that of the smartphone category as a whole.”

The fact that email usage is so popular on the iPhone will confound some critics who claimed Apple had made a mistake by not adding a QWERTY keyboard to its device in a similar vein to RIMs BlackBerry. A touch-sensitive keyboard was perceived as being a novelty rather than actually effective for writing email but the statistics from comScore and appear to confound this perception.

Apple’s App Store, which has now been replicated by competitors including Microsoft and Nokia, is also popular with users according to the research. In particular the research showed that applications that allow users to access mobile information and news – such as the BBC’s offline news reader application – were popular among users with around 55.6 percent of iPhone users using such tools.

The iPhone has also helped drive uptake of mobile gaming with around 37 percent of iPhone owners downloading the applications compared to just 5.6 percent of other smartphone owners.

The research also showed that unsurprisingly most smartphone owners are young men with 75 percent between the ages of 18 and 44 and 65 percent male.