What Devices Are Really “Mobile” Anyway?

This is the second in a series of posts walking readers through the mobile advertising space. Stay tuned for more posts over the coming weeks.

In the last post I reviewed the market opportunity in mobile advertising and examined the unique challenges with each of the major operating systems in the market.  This post will focus on the various mobile devices and provide a structure for defining what constitutes “mobile”. Rather than thinking about mobile as one large group, let’s break it down by device type and screen size. Most devices (laptop, phone or tablet) now are “mobile” in that you could conceivably carry them around and get a Wi-Fi signal, browse the Internet and check email. However, research (and common sense, really) shows that this isn’t true in practice. From a practicality standpoint, how many people do you see walking down the street with an open laptop versus people typing away on their phone?

The term “mobile” gets thrown around and is used to classify pretty much any device that can be carried. However, to develop a comprehensive mobile strategy, you should think beyond the device and instead consider the form factor (i.e. size, shape, weight of the device) as well as how it is used. Through this lens, it becomes very apparent that smartphones and tablets are quite different even if both could be called mobile.

The mobile phone is very personal to the user.  It’s intimate, portable, in the pocket and always, ALWAYS with the person. According to a Gartner study of device usage, mobile phones are used throughout the day – 65% of users use them outside the home and 66% use them at work. These stats indicate that these devices are truly made to be on-the-go. Giordano Contestabile of PopCap Games enlightened a group at the Business Insider Mobile Advertising Conference with some survey results on PopCap’s users.  He indicated that 27% of their users take their phones to the bathroom.  Consider that next time you ask to use someone else’s phone.  All humor aside, this is clearly why the phone has been called mobile – it helps users with navigation, communication, entertainment and information in real time.

Read the rest on the Rubicon Project blog.

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