ABI Research is sharing a new report in which it forecasts that over 60% of handsets will have mobile browsers in 2015. At 3.8 billion mobile devices, that would double today's penetration rate, the firm says.
"Mobile browsers are evolving along two paths," says ABI Research senior analyst Mark Beccue. "On one hand, highly sophisticated browsers, which we are calling full Internet browsers, will be found in all smartphones and a growing number of enhanced (or feature) phones. Such devices can host these browsers because they have advanced application processors, expanded memory capacity and adequate screen size and resolution. These full Internet browsers typically require about 64 Mb of memory to run. A real key to the growth of full Internet browsers in higher-end feature phones is the falling cost of sophisticated applications processors. But there is also a second path."
"Parallel to this development, a new family of browsers has emerged: the proxy-based (or client-server or compression) browser, which is epitomized by the Opera Mini," he continues. "These browsers move some caching and processing off the phone to a nearby server, allowing the browser to run on lower-cost processors and requiring as little as 4 Mb of memory. That means these browsers can be used on even the lowest-cost phones."
ABI's research also indicates that the installed base of full Internet browsers will exceed that of proxy-based browsers sometime in 2012. The report can be found here.
ABI released another study this week, looking at mobile data usage, finding that it continues to grow exponentially as 3G technology spreads globally. ABI says that from 2009 to 2015 data usage in Western Europe and North America is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 42% and 55% respectively.