"According to Pew spokesman Aaron W. Smith, increased mobile web usage is driven by two key factors: age and economics. A younger demo with an annual income of $30,000 or less a year has jumped in usage, and African-Americans and Hispanics are younger and have less money than the general white population.
"Mobile is thus bridging the digital gap between the traditional distinction of haves and have-nots, and while itâ€™s a positive trend, itâ€™s still a gap between those with cellphone-only access and those with computers as well.
"About 18% of African-Americans use a cellphone as their sole device for Internet access compared to about 10% of whites. That said, laptop ownership has risen from 34% in 2009 to a current 51% among African-Americans.
"Overall, 59% of Americans now access the Internet through mobile devices as opposed to 51% a year ago. So mobile may prove to be the ultimate equalizer, at least on the digital playing field.
"Both WiMAX and LTE are 4G mobile broadband brands, and LTE is taking the lead in attracting the wireless power players. What are the odds that 4G technology will overtake and completely replace cable or DSL for access to the internet? They are not that good, since cable and DSL can still service the currently owned computers, television and land telephone lines that people have, need and will use for years into the future. Given the current state of the economy, it may look as if there are unlimited numbers of people who can jump ship and convert to any new technology, but that is not reality.
"It might seem as if there are enough device types available, the actual number is small and vendors are targeting specific market niches as shown from the differences in implementation and approaches. This is typical for an emerging market and new technology. The overall timeframe for widespread network deployment of devices and services based upon LTE is probably going to take longer than the service providers, equipment vendors and market hype is projecting. The chips currently available represent first generation solutions and are only beginning to be produced in large quantities for the mass market. Battery life optimization, needed for mainstream adoption, usually does not occur until second or third generation silicon. There is also the LTE standards process.
"While there will be LTE-enabled smartphone devices available at the end of 2010 and more service provider networks supporting LTE, it will not become a mainstream technology in the U.S. over the next 12 months."