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March 30, 2010

Mobile use at Edinburgh

The IS team at the University of Edinburgh have released the results of their survey into Mobile Services 2010. The online survey was undertaken during a 16 day period in March this year and received 1989 responses - pretty impressive I think.

The headline results are as follows:

  • 49% of students surveyed have smartphones.
  • Apple accounted for 35% of smart handsets, followed closely by Nokia at 25% and Blackberry at 17%.
  • 68% of students have pay monthly contracts.
  • 39% have a contract that gives unlimited access to internet.
  • An average of 50% of students access Email and Facebook through their mobiles several times a day.
  • 25% claim to have no internet access from their handsets.
  • The top 3 potential University services which students would most like to see available from their mobiles would be;
    • Course Information
    • Exam and course timetables
    • PC availability in Open Access Labs.

The balance of handset manufacturers in the second bullet point (I assume the switch in language from 'smartphone' to 'smart handset' isn't significant?) doesn't seem too out of kilter with the figures reported by StatCounter (e.g. see their Top 9 mobile browsers in UK from Mar 09 to Mar 10) though I guess the lower figure for BlackBerry in the Edinburgh survey is indicative of the particular audience (and, in any case, StatCounter is measuring usage rather than ownership so I'm not sure it is meaningful to compare the figures anyway).

Not all that surprisingly, access to course information and timetabling is a winner in terms of desired mobile functionality for students.

It would be interesting to see similar data for staff.

And my favorite quote... "Can the wireless service be made to NOT log me out after like, 5 minutes of inactivity?" :-)


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I'm very interested in seeing the rate of growth amongst students when it comes to "smart handsets" in particular. This is a key element to mobile web browsing, social networking, media consumption/creation, etc. I think.

Now we're really seeing mobile technology take off with regards to functionality, connection and affordability is it going to really boom on phones? Or will tablets take up the baton?

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