Mobile internet users to double in number in four years

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The number of mobile internet users worldwide will more than double by 2013, predicts technology analyst IDC.

It is believed that there are currently more than 450 million devices worldwide, an amount that is expected to grow to over one billion over the next four years driven by the affordability of mobile phones, smartphones and other internet-equipped devices. According to IDC, this rapid expansion is likely to drive fundamental changes in the way consumers use their devices.

"The number of mobile devices with Internet access has simply exploded over the last several years," said John Gantz, chief research officer at IDC. "The next several years will witness another sea change in the way users interact with the Internet and further blur the lines between personal and professional."

IDC predicts that whilst the current most popular uses of the mobile internet are using search engines, reading the news, sending email and listening to music, the fastest-growing applications over the next four years will be those that allow users to purchase online, participate in social communities and create blogs. This is expected to be accompanied by an effort by businesses to empower their mobile workforce using corporate email.