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When you read the headlines of how ubiquitous smartphones are becoming, and how in some countries the mobile device is overtaking the PC in terms of internet access, you would think that mobile internet usage would directly follow from these facts. In reality, it seems that it still lagging behind: according to some figures out today from StatCounter, only 8.5 percent of internet visits came from mobile devices in 2011.
StatCounter’s figure, which does not include tablet usage, is still nearly double the mobile figure from 2010, when mobile devices accounted for 4.3 percent of internet usage. In 2009, mobiles accounted for only 1.6 percent of visits. It also comes as internet access via desktop PCs appears to be on the wane:
Yet even given the growth in mobile, these still-low figures also go some way to explaining why certain businesses, like mobile advertising, are still not the money spinners you would expect them to be: the usage volumes are just simply not there yet.
StatCounter also provided some numbers on which handset makers are bringing in the most internet usage country-by-country. Nokia (NYSE: NOK) — which, despite its many declines over several quarters, has managed to remain the world’s biggest smartphone maker — is the global leader in terms of internet access via mobile devices. That is partly because it is strong in those countries where users may be opting for phones instead of PCs to go online, such as China and India.
It will be interesting to see whether Nokia can hold on to that lead, both in internet usage and in smartphone leadership given its switch to Windows Phone for its smartphones — especially if you believe reports that Nokia is planning to discontinue Symbian after the development of one more device. Symbian is currently the company’s best-selling platform and although it has now been outsourced to Accenture, Nokia has said it would remain committed to it until 2016.
Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), which NPD earlier today noted is the most popular vendor in terms of smartphone sales in the U.S., is also leading in mobile internet usage in the U.S., as well as the UK, markets where it has also performed very strongly in terms of sales. Worldwide, RIM (NSDQ: RIMM) appears to be taking a nosedive at the moment. You can see other country-specific vendor rankings in the embedded table here: