back to article iPhone tops mobile browsing charts

Figures from Net Applications showing that since it was launched the iPhone has topped the charts amongst mobile browsers, with Symbian S60 trailing far behind. Desktop operating systems, unsurprisingly, occupy the top positions in the chart of web usage, but the iPhone still manages a respectable 0.09 per cent of all browsing …


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  1. Benedict


    "better than browsing on devices with a smaller screen, but not as good as those with a larger one."

    Really? I wouldnt have fucking guessed that.

  2. Lester Mak

    Freedom on the airwaves!


    "Browsing on the iPhone is, basically, better than browsing on devices with a smaller screen, but not as good as those with a larger one."

    Blatently stating the obvious and it doesn't actually mean browsing on the iPhone is any better!

    Anyway, the increased data could be somewhat down to the fact that those who buy one end up with (fair use limited, except in O2 UK) unlimited data packages. Previously, I had a Windows Mobile handset, but data packages were relatively expensive, so I didn't buy a big one.

    Now I'm free to surf, and am downloading around six times as much data than previously.

  3. Matt Brigden

    Wonder what all the iphone users are looking at ? most likely lol .

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't think its just to do with marketing

    Eh it might be riding high because surfing the web on the iphone is actually a lot better than those other devices.

    I find checking websites when you are sat watching the TV is excellent when you can't be bothered to fire up a PC or a laptop.

    No to mention how much easier it is if you are sat in the middle of a city centre and need to use it.

  5. Jeff
    Jobs Halo

    Go figure

    Having a Nokia E61i, I tend to use the browser to access the Internet when I'm bored- long meetings, transit, listening to wife talk about her day (OK, not really :). As such, it's passable, but barely. It's still painful and sluggish.

    I've also had the opportunity to use an iPhone a few times, and hands down, browsing if a magnitude better experience. Bring faster data downloads, hopefully next year, and for a mobile device, I imagine it will be the next best thing to the desktop.

    Of course desktop browsing is still better, but for those opportunities when on the go, I think the iPhone is best choice. Now if web sites can be better about adapting their content to a mobilized environment while still keeping a pleasing layout...

  6. Chris Wood

    Driven by unlimited data usage I'd say

    Yeah, I'm sure people would use other mobile devices to browse the net if they were on bundles including unlimited data usage (the only option with the iPhone on O2).

    Do these figures include the iPod Touch browser too?

  7. Will

    Opera Mini

    I can see that this is done by OS, and therefore OS independant browsers are not on the list.

    Opera Mini has been around for ages and is used by many, I'm sure it would be way above the iPhone

  8. Richard Waterhouse

    The truth is in the price

    I would argue that this is less to do with the iPhone interface (good as it is) and more to do with the tariffs currently on offer. Prior to the iPhone contract from O2 there was only one realistically priced data option available, and that from a company who's coverage was so spectacular as to earn it the nom de plume One-to-nOne.

    Personally I would much rather have bought an N95 or similar phone if I could have had it on the same terms as O2 offer for the iPhone. My only real complaint about the iPhone contract is the fact that you're stuck with a measly 500 texts per month.

    When more data tarriffs start being offered by the mobile companies I think we'll start to see an increase in the use of the other mobile browsers.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    WAP gateway?

    Maybe cos most other mobile handsets browse the net via a gateway/proxy server and not directly, the stats are a bit skewed in favour of the connect-directly iPhone?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Give Apple and iPhone some slack

    The finger interface IS innovative, and if it wasn't for weak SMS functionality I would have trashed my communicator long time ago.

  11. Andrew Woodvine

    re: WAP gateway

    By default mobile devices supplied by any of the UK networks do not browse via a proxy server, they connect directly, just as the iPhone does. It appears from your subject that you are getting WAP confused with proxy servers.

  12. parv


    i have an iphone & i sometimes use it instead of my laptop to browse the net. it's easy to surf the net & read articles. it's not just about the tarrif - it's about usability for me.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Oh dear

    Well, I guess I shouldn't have set my user agent string to "iPhone" then... (WinXP/Firefox)

  14. Steve Litchfield

    USA stats

    I thought these were USA-specific stats? The very fact that S60 is referred to as S60 is a bad sign for the credibility of the report, IMHO.

    I'm quite sure iPhone users use Web a lot more than S60 users, but as there are 100 times as many S60 users out there, I fail to see how this report can be worldwide - or perhaps even right.

  15. Glenn Gilbert

    This is the one thing that the iPhone is great at

    Every other phone or PDA I have *ever* used for browsing is absolute rubbish when compared with the iPhone.

    * None of the others have a useful zoom function that enables images and text to be read

    * None of the others render CSS properly so the best you get is the 'linear layout'

    * None of the others are as easy to use and type URLs

    The iPhone may be lacking in many ways, but the iPhone browser is light years ahead of anything else in a small format.

    Give Apple credit where it's due; they've caught all the other manufacturers napping. It's hardly surprising that it's being used.

    Plus if you've just forked out goodness knows how much for an annual contract, you're going to damn well use it!

  16. Bruce Robinson

    Price cut before Christmas ?

    Are we going to see a price cut before Christmas to keep the iphone bandwagon rolling? Rumour has it that it could be on the cards.

    Actually heard several stories of men ashamed to tell their wives and sweethaerts that they've purchased an iphone....! At £268 a pop I wonder why ? She'll be expecting a whole lot of flowers and candy this Chrismas to sweeten that pill. Mind you, she'll be over the moon to know that your device is second in internet browsing league, that should impress her almost a much as the £630 life time charges that you;ll pay for a phone you can't unlock from O2 in 18 months time.

    She may wonder what type of chap she's dating ????

  17. David H Dennis

    iPod Touch brings in an additional 0.01%

    So the total for iPhone + iPod Touch is 0.1%, or one in 1000.

    The iPhone is a great Internet device. I use mine to browse the Internet all the time, often while I'm in bed or on the move. Sometimes I even prefer iPhone to the desktop when I'm in the mood to hold the device instead of moving myself over to it as you need to do with a PC or laptop. Of course thanks to tabs and new windows, the desktop is way superior once you need to browse more than one page at a time.

    Unlimited data plans are not that uncommon; people with Blackberries generally have them. I checked out a Blackberry that had an unlimited data plan, but the web browsing worked so badly it was embarassing. I can't help but notice that Blackberry didn't show up in those figures at all.

    Also, last time I looked, all T-Mobile Sidekicks (Danger Hiptops) are on an unlimited data plan.

    I think it's reasonable to conclude that you have to have both a great device AND an unlimited data plan before you get any substantial amount of web browsing done on a phone. Clearly iPhone qualifies, and the figures back me up.


  18. Chad H.

    @ By Andrew Woodvine

    That isnt correct. I know one Pink looking letter that uses a transparent proxy. This proxy can be a pain if you want to look at high quality pics on the web (lots of refreshing the page).

  19. Ray Anderson

    Vegetarians outnumber omnivores 100 to 1

    This is really misleading.

    Hitslink produced this report by using dat afrom their analytics customers. These people operate HTML/PC websites. They say: "You simply paste a small piece of HTML code on each page you wish to track statistics on".

    The 300 million or so mobile phone browser users (say 50million S60) can't or don't browse HTML sites. They browse mobile friendly sites (WAP or XHTML or iMode) which will not have this HTML code in.

    Considering that organizations like Bango, Admob, Peperonity, Vodafone report mobile browser traffic in the billions of pages per day, most of thse being S40 or S60 its clear that by ignoring non-HTML sites these stats are misleading and mistaken.

    The other headline would be "iPhone users not not seen visiting the web" becuase the providers of web sites that serve mobile phones never see them.

    It like a survey from Cranks wholefood revealling that a survey of people eating meals served in their restaurants revealed 99% were vegetarian.


  20. Danny Thompson
    Thumb Up

    iPhone New Windows and Tabs

    @ David H Dennis - Actually, the iPhone does do "new windows" but not tabs so you can browse multiple pages.

    @ To all the nay-sayers - what a sad lot you are - sorry but your poor little ole anti-anything-apple bandwagon has just been turned over. Fact is the iPhone Safari browser is superior in use to that on any other mobile phone to date, even if equipped with Opera/Opera Mini. The larger screen helps, as does the UI itself. I am using both an iPhone and Nokia's former cream of the crop their N95 (with and without Opera). In all cases the iPhone web browsing experience is superior.

    Data tariffs will have something to do with matters - although with a poor browser experience in a regular handset the chances of anyone actually wanting mobile data are diminished.

    On the other hand, with a device a browser that is as well functioning as Apple's iPhone the punter is more likely to make use of data - or even buy into a data tariff if a cheap enough one is available such as T-Mobile's Web N Walk (£7.50/1GB or £12.50/3GB).

    To deny the iPhone its credit where it is due is playing King Canute. Enjoy getting your feet wet :)

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Broken statistics

    This article is based on stats from Netapplication. They are however incorrect for November. If you log in to their Hitslink service, you will see the correct data:

    - Opera Mini 0.66%

    - Safari on iPhone 0.09%

    More on this topic:

  22. Kenneth Bradley-White

    Opera Mini on 3

    I have both those things mentioned as those needed for a decent browsing experience: Opera Mini 4, and an unlimited (well, fair use) data plan from 3 for £5 for a month.

    This way I get a half decent browsing experience, and save a few hundred while I'm at it. I know which I'd prefer...

  23. Scott Mckenzie


    I'd be amazed if they were accurate stats...

    I have a WM5 device and find browsing the web a quite painful experience, it's ok in an emergency but it's not fun... the iPhone method is excellent - sure it'd be better if it were 3G etc, but the actual interface is stunning.

    However given the number of iPhones in existence vs the number of Wm devices i'd be truly amazed if the stats were higher on the iPhone!

  24. Alan Edwards

    My experiences

    First off, I've not played with an iPhone yet...

    What I have got is a Nokia 770, a SE W950i, a Motorola v620 and an HP nc8000 notebook with a Sierra Wireless 875 HSDPA card.

    The W950i is Symbian-based, and the first thing I put on it was Opera Mini 4. It doesn't support the touch screen properly, but it's better than the built-in browser. The RSS reader in Opera Mini is also better than the W950's, but neither is a patch on the browser and RSS reader in the 770.

    For preference I'd use the 770 over anything on the W950. Even with Opera's mobile rendering and landscape mode, you can't do web browsing on a 320x240 screen. The 770 is 800x480, and that seems small sometimes, so I wonder how much better 480x320 on a iPhone will be than 320x240.

    I mostly used the W950 as a data modem over Bluetooth from the 770. Going from the GPRS-only v620 to the 3G W950 has made a big improvement. Loading pages is far quicker, as you'd expect.

    What surprised me is that in general web browsing on the notebook, using the HSDPA card isn't that much quicker than Bluetoothing into the W950.


  25. Danny Traynor
    Thumb Up

    Comment title required...

    I've had loads of mobiles over the years and have never felt the need to pay for mobile data as none of them have been devices that I WANTED to use. Slow, cumbersome browsing doesn't appeal. Now though, I use my iPhone everyday. Generally in hotspots but also when I'm stuck in traffic (and the wifes driving of course (100mile a day commute). I love it. I'm also never bored now when I'm forced to go and stand outside a drinking establishment in order to have a smoke. Wouldn't trade it for anything (apart from iPhone v.2 with 3g ;) )

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Surfing on Nokia E90

    Surfing the net on a screen the size of a postage stamp is rubbish and until mobiles with larger screens become more widespread I don't think internet use on mobiles will really take off as it could!

    Although I haven't tried out the I-Phone to make a comparison, I have to say (and without wanting to sound like a Nokia fanboy here!) I have found my Nokia E90 a joy to use surfing the net. The widescreen and wifi makes using the internet on a phone (for the first time so far in my experience) a pleasure rather than a last resort.


  27. b shubin

    Flesh tones

    @ Matt Brigden

    to quote a popular musical, "The internet is for P0RN!"

  28. Michael


    I have an N95 and find it is fine to use for web browsing and has one of the best browsers out there... now i aint used an iphone as I really dont want a phone with a nice interface but is technically quite an old phone.

    Dont get me wrong i really like the look of the interface is the ads i have seen, but there is no way its worth £300 then another £35-£40 a month or whatever..

    Most nokia N series phones are a lot better than the iphone and a lot of other nokia phones are as well.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iPhone IS better for browsing

    I got my Orange M600 with the intention of using it for internet browsing, but soon found it to be a pain. It tries to resize pages to fit its tiny screen, even viewing in landscape is horrible. I've tried the iPhone and iPod Touch, and the difference is amazing. If the iPhone was available in the UK unlocked and open to third party apps, I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

    As it is, I'm waiting to see how the 'openness' coming in January affects the iPod Touch; if it's truly open (rather than requiring developers to pay some type of fee for the privilege), then I'll probably go for it. Who cares about mobile access when wireless is all around?

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