Novarra Responds to My Questions About its Mobile Net Usage Report

On Monday I commented on Novarra’s report about Micro-blogging Emerges as Driver of Mobile Internet Usage by asking…

Huge Twitter Mobile Page View Growth? Feature Phones or Smartphones Too?

…as well as… Did Novarra only measure actually hits to Twitter mobile site (m.twitter.com)? What about the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people who use Twitter using a native mobile client?. So, I asked Novarra via their public relations contact and received the following response:

Did Novarra only measure actually hits to Twitter mobile site (m.twitter.com)? No, browser traffic includes www. and m. twitter sites, and in some cases, apps where http is transport method.

What about the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people who use Twitter using a native mobile client? In some cases, where mobile client uses http as transport, requests are processed by Novarra. Therefore, some, but not all, native client app twitter activity is included.

Novarra went on to comment that:

Micro-blogging traffic in the report was measured across Novarra’s network of global deployments, across any/all handsets serviced by Novarra at those operators – from smartphones to emerging market handsets. Novarra sits “in the network path” for http requests from our own browser, default handset browsers like Teleca, Openwave, Opera Mobile, Access and others for these handsets and operators.

Additionally, if an app utilizes http transport, it is likely those requests are also handled by the Novarra Vision platform.

Also, a bit about Novarra. Novarra is a solutions provider to mobile network operators and handset manufacturers primarily. Their technology consists of a server that sits in the network path for internet transactions of all kinds from mobile devices – smartphones, feature phones and emerging market handsets. Additionally, Novarra’s Vision platform includes an optional browser that is offered by some service providers. The solution provides access to “PC web content” including video and complex JavaScript, AJAX, Flash, etc. that are not otherwise accessible from phones.

I was surprised to learn that is in the “network path” (see quote above) for a mix of widely used browsers like Openwave (which created the first text-based phone browser I ever used back in the late 1990s) as well as Opera Mobile.

My personal conclusion remains the same. Their data provides an interesting view of users of their platform. We cannot generalize it to the entire population of web enabled phones.