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Is It Really Mobile?

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 11/16/11 (10:31am)

Josh Marshall, publisher of Talking Points Memo, looks at traffic on his site and points to the still modest but continually increasing share that 'mobile' is taking:

The additional wrinkle here is that 77% of that mobile traffic you see in the chart is from iOS devices, i.e., iPhones, iPads, iPods, etc. So give or take, around 40% of the visits to TPM come from computers or devices that use an operating system built by Apple. Compare that to 20% only 5 years ago.

The question is, is this really mobile? iPads for example are far more likely to be connected via wireless rather than through a phone company and screen-wise, it's a whole different user-experience. For purposes of analysis, I think it'd be far more helpful -- in fact, increasingly so -- to approach the data as 'mobile' AND 'tablet'.

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2 comments

by Kyle Jones on Wed, 11/16/11 (11:34am)

Labeling a visitor as one using a mobile device was used, I assume, primarily to be able to craft web designs for a much smaller viewport with lower bandwidth. With iPads having greater viewports and, as you point out, usually higher bandwidth capabilities with wifi connections, it's right to think about these types of users outside of the mobile silo.

Also, with mobile connections increasing in speed it's not as pertinent to even label mobile users as mobile (or tablet) - we need to think more about viewports which will put the focus on design and experience.

~Kyle~

by Leo Klein on Wed, 11/16/11 (11:58am)

Exactly. I'm literally no longer designing for just one sort of device -- say, desktop pc's. That's why it makes sense to separate the traffic out as tablet, mobile, etc.

Maybe we could call it 'handheld' or 'mini' rather than mobile?