In connection with the start of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, comScore today issued its first year-in-review report for mobile. That in itself says something about the category's rising profile in the media world. Among the 2010 highlights:
So far, uptake of the mobile Web and apps (34.5%) in the U.S. is roughly on par. It will be interesting to see in 2011 if the mobile Web outpaces app growth as HTML5 gains ground as a platform for building mobile Web sites and creating a more user-friendly experience. Both channels are likely to continue growing as smartphone penetration increases this year, with help from the Verizon iPhone and falling devices prices.
But just because people own smartphones doesn't mean they're using the devices' full capabilities. Research presented by InsightExpress this month found a quarter of smartphone owners don't even view their handsets as smartphones. So making consumers aware of the features a smartphone offers is still part of the equation in driving higher data use. Think of it as developing not just sophisticated mobile tools, but the consumer culture around them as well.In that vein, Apple's iPhone commercials in recent years showing how it can be used to do things like get directions, make a dinner reservation or engage in a video chat are probably on the right track. However, making sure the user experience is actually as simple and smooth as it looks on TV is the bigger challenge for device makers, carriers and content providers.