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Consumers more comfortable with mobile Web: Study

In just two weeks since its release, the iPhone is already the third-most popular handset for Opera Mini users worldwide, according to the company?s State of the Mobile Web Report.

According to preliminary numbers, the United States may soon have the fifth-most Opera Mini users, displacing Nigeria, South Africa and Ukraine on its ascent up the list.

?It certainly seems that Opera Mini is finding a home on both smartphones and traditional feature phones,? said Thomas Ford, senior communications manager at Opera, Los Angeles. ?As more feature phones can browse the Web, that opens up greater possibilities for marketers.

?Also, marketers should ensure their Web-based campaigns work on a variety of Web browsers as it has now been proven that mobile users are willing to use additional browsers rather than the system default,? he said.

Opera?s State of the Mobile Web Report, published monthly, provides information on the top global trends affecting the mobile Web.

In March 2010, Opera Mini had over 55.2 million users, a 9.3 percent increase from February 2010 and more than 140 percent compared to March 2009.

Those 55.2 million people viewed more than 25.8 billion pages in March 2010.

Since February, page views have gone up 17.4 percent. Since March 2009, page views have increased 200 percent.

In March 2010, Opera Mini users generated over 396 million MB of data for wireless carriers worldwide.

Since February, the data consumed went up by 19.8 percent.

Data in Opera Mini is compressed up to 90 percent. If this data were uncompressed, Opera Mini users would have viewed over 3.6 petabytes of data in March.

Since March 2009, data traffic is up 166 percent.

The top 10 countries for Opera Mini usage in March 2010 were: Russia, Indonesia, India, China, Ukraine, South Africa, Nigeria, the United States, Vietnam and the United Kingdom. The top 10 remains unchanged from the previous month.

?Predictions are tough,? Mr. Ford said. ?On one hand, I would say we will see more browsing worldwide from non-smartphone devices.

?Making sure ordinary phones access the Web will continue to be critical,? he said. ?However, based on what we've seen so far, the iPhone will continue to be one of the most popular devices.

?It has already supplanted BlackBerry in our U.S. rankings, for instance, and this is after just half a month,? he said. ?Although we foresee this number settling down, we feel that U.S. users in particular will continue to associate mobile Web browsing with smartphones.

Also, looking at historic growth rates, the page views per user continue to rise.

?This means more people are using the mobile Web more intensively,? Mr. Ford said. ?This is great news for mobile marketers because people are increasing their comfort-level with the mobile Web in general.?