April 30, 2007, 12:00 AM

Internet-wide searches on the small screen

While only 30% of mobile device users access the Internet on their handhelds, 75% of those who do conduct Internet searches, 50% several times a week, according to new research.

While only 30% of mobile device users access the Internet on their handhelds, 75% of those who do conduct Internet searches, and 50% conduct searches several times a week, according to new research from iCrossing Inc., a digital and search engine marketing firm.

Additionally, users prefer to search via major search engines rather than through search options offered on mobile telecommunications carriers’ platforms, concludes “How America Searches: Mobile,” a survey from iCrossing conducted by Opinion Research Corp., which polled 1,000 mobile phone users.

The survey finds that mobile searchers prefer navigating directly to mobile versions of major search engines-including Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask-over using carrier-supplied search functionality-such as a search bar or carrier home page box-by a margin of nearly two to one.

There is one significant caveat, however, to mobile search: 75% of users are not willing to browse beyond a second page of mobile search results, the survey says.

Ultimately, dedicated mobile search sites are a must, iCrossing contends, because 84% of mobile searchers expect sites they visit frequently to have dedicated mobile versions.

Mobile technology expert Levi Shapiro, an executive with Telephia, is speaking at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition, June 4-7 in San Jose, in a session entitled Mobile Commerce is Happening-and Retailers Better Get Ready for It.

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