Over the last few years, many mobile phones have become available that allow users to access the Internet while on the move. This mobile Internet is enabled via technology, such as Wi-Fi (Wireless Local Area Network) and WAP (Wireless Access Protocol). Recent figures from analysts at the Internet Data Centre suggest that some 450 million people in the world use mobile Internet.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of mobile Internet is always having access to the latest facts, figures and information as it happens. This information might range from breaking news delivered by news sites, to stock and shares prices or other business information, to travel updates and the latest weather forecasts in your area. Having up-to-date info allows you to make decisions with all the correct facts at hand.
Another practical use of mobile Internet is to find information regarding the area around you. For example, you might want to find the nearest restaurant, gig or bar and your mobile Internet could tell you with a quick look on a search engine. You could then get recommendations and find a map. Many phones also come set up to utilise GPS (Global Positioning System), which uses satellites to locate the phone's user and provide information based on their location. This means the info you obtain using mobile Internet can be personalised for you and is thus more helpful, especially if, for example, you are lost on the road and need directions home.
With many people now using social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, mobile Internet can only make engaging with contacts on these sites easier. In particular, having the net on your cell phone allows you to update your status or check what your friends are up to at the touch of a button -- handy for organising your social life.
Something to consider is the added cost of mobile Internet. For some phones, depending upon your phone network or carrier, having your phone enabled for the Internet may cost an extra £4 to £6, while a monthly subscription for a smartphone -- say the Nexus One, for example -- might get you unlimited access to the Internet, but will also set you back around £51.90 per month.
There are privacy issues to consider, too. With more and more people accessing the Internet through mobiles, it's easy to forget that five of the major search engines archive the search histories of their users on a regular basis, according to a report from the Centre for Democracy and Technology. So individuals may be giving away more information than they realise through their increased net usage.