/// The Mobile Browser Dominates in Emerging Markets

September 14, 2012  |  All Things Digital

Redefining the Browser in the Mobile Internet Era There are seven billion people in this world and only 1.2 billion computers — but close to six billion cell phones. That makes the commercialization ability and growth potential for the mobile internet massively greater than that of the PC-based Internet. China, the world’s biggest Internet market, recently surpassed the U.S. in smartphone activation — and the mobile browser is once again coming to the forefront. Here’s why. In emerging markets such as China and India, the world’s two most populous countries, the mobile browser is a critical channel that connects people to the Internet in ways that the PC browser never did. For many people, it is their only connection point to the Internet — take Indonesia, for example, where linking its thousands of islands by a fixed nationwide network was prohibitively expensive, so they prioritized the build-out of a mobile network. Since cell phones are much cheaper than computers, and the mobile Internet is much more accessible than fixed-line Internet in emerging markets, users purchase their first cell phones much earlier than their first computers, which sets user habits to surf the Web through cell phones. In fact, Internet traffic flow on mobile devices surpassed that of the PC in India in May of this year, and the number of mobile Internet users overtook that of the PC in China just a month later in June. The graph above is slide 18 from Mary Meeker’s 2012 Internet Trends presentation In addition to user habit, technological advancement has contributed to the widespread use of the mobile Internet. For example, cloud computing has made mobile browsing work where bandwidth and mobile devices’ computing power are lacking. Before, in many parts of the world, browsing the Web through a cell phone with its native browser was extremely inconvenient and slow. Opening a Web page took almost a minute — intolerable to most users, particularly those accustomed to surfing on a PC. It was also ridiculously expensive. For example, opening a 2M webpage in China (the typical size of the homepage for popular Chinese internet portals), would cost 60 RMB, or almost $10. With cloud computing, data can be compressed by 80 percent or more, offering much faster and affordable Web surfing. With the bandwidth issue easing and mobile devices becoming more capable, the cloud computing technology approach makes mobile browsing accessible to a much larger worldwide population, and gives users an overall improved mobile Internet experience. Mobile Apps vs

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The Mobile Browser Dominates in Emerging Markets

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