The number of people in the US using their mobile device to access news and information on the Internet more than doubled in the last year.

An estimated 63.2 million people accessed news and information on their mobile devices in January 2009, up from 36.9 million doing so in January 2008, according to figures released today from comScore.

Of these, 22.4 million (35 percent) did so daily – also more than double the size of the audience last year.

The highest growth, however, was in accessing social networking sites or blogs, with 9.3 million using the mobile internet daily to access a social network site or blog in January 2009 compared with 1.8 million in January 2008.

Mark Donovan, comScore’s senior vice president, mobile, said that that over the course of the past year, mobile Internet use has evolve from an occasional activity to being a daily part of people’s lives.

"This underscores the growing importance of the mobile medium as consumers become more reliant on their mobile devices to access time-sensitive and utilitarian information."

Donovan said that social networking and blogging have emerged as very popular daily uses of the mobile Web and these activities are growing at a torrid pace.

"We also note that much of the growth in news and information usage is driven by the increased popularity of downloaded applications, such as those offered for the iPhone, and by text-based searches."

In January, 22.3 million people accessed news and information via a downloaded applications, with 8.2 million people using downloaded maps applications.

SMS is still a strong channel, with 32.4 million people using SMS to access news and information—including 14.1 million people using SMS for search.

Donovan said that hile smartphones and high-end feature phones, like the Samsung Instinct and LG Dare comprise the Top 10 devices used for news and information access, 70 per cent of those accessing mobile Internet content are using feature phones.

Other significant segments included:

  • Traded stocks or accessed financial account, which grew by 188 per cent to 3.3 million
  • Accessed movie information, which grew by 185 per cent to 3.1 million
  • Accessed business directories, which grew by 161 per cent to 2.4 million
  • Accessed entertainment news, which grew by 160 per cent to 5.5 million.

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