Is There a Mobile Divide?

In the middle of a phone call today, something dawned on me. Just as there is a “digital divide”, there may also be a “mobile divide” based on the types of phones people have access to. Hear me out on this one. While a small portion of us debate (as pictured in the video below) the battle between iPhone and Google’s soon to be released Android Phone, a much larger portion of individuals still have phones that they don’t access internet on. While there is most definitely an upcoming shift, the majority of users still do not use their phone for browsing the web.

According to a recent study by Nielsen, only 15.6 percent of users in the U.S. access the mobile web and this country leads among all other countries. While a large portion of mobile users will begin accessing the mobile web, the majority remain disconnected. While this doesn’t impact the mobile disconnected population the same way that the lack of internet access at home does, having access to all information on the go most definitely provides an advantage.

It’s no wonder then that four of the top ten websites accessed via a mobile device in May of this year were e-mail sites. Business in general has become mobile and as such I would suggest that those not accessing the web via their mobile device are at a competitive disadvantage. My guess is that most people that visit this site have viewed a website on their mobile device.

It’s very easy to become spoiled with technology. While traveling, you’ll find me immediately turn on my phone as my airplane touches down and I’ll read my email and get all the latest news. I’m not alone as I frequently observe my fellow flight passengers doing the same thing. While being “hyper-connected” can create more stress, it also can improve productivity.

While mobile web usage will surely grow dramatically over the coming years, I think that it’s important to recognize that the majority of the world still does not browse the web or use mobile web services via their mobile device.