Telecom & Wireless

Will Web Search Ever Play On The Cellphone?

Wall St. broadly accepts that the next frontier for online search and web use will be the cellphone. That assumes, of course, the consumers want to use tiny screens to access the internet. A related theory says that people will want to watch a lot of video on their phones.

But, what it the forecasts are wrong? That would take away a lot of the “upside” from revenue for companies like Google (GOOG), Yahoo! (YHOO) and Microsoft’s (MSFT) MSN.

According to The New York Times “surveys by Yankee Group, a Boston research firm, show that only 13 percent of cellphone users in North America use their phones to surf the Web more than once a month, while 70 percent of computer users view Web sites every day.” With the dawn of technologies like WiMax, it may be easier for people to simply take small laptops and access the web from those, any time and any where.

Investors can read thousands of articles on the subject of using mobile handsets to access the internet. But, the argument will alway hinge on one issue–are people willing to use web-based functions which they can hardly see on a tiny screen?

A great deal depends on the eventual answer to that question.

Douglas A. McIntyre

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