The majority of U.S. internet users now connect to the internet via portable computer or mobile phone. The latter is especially popular among minorities. Six out of ten American internet users connect via phone or portable com

puter, using a wireless connection to do so, according to a Pew Internet Research study. Nearly half of the study’s respondents have access to wi-fi or a mobile connection to access the internet with a laptop, 10 percent more than did so last year. And 40 percent of these surf the web, send emails or instant messages from a mobile phone. Mobile is becoming the preferred method of connection. “Even if portable PCs have become mainstream in the last few years, a significant number of people are turning to phones as the principal way to access the internet,” said Aaron Smith, the report’s author.

Minorities Represent Largest Percentage of Users

As far as user demographics, Hispanics and African-Americans use the mobile web the most. Nearly 90 percent of Hispanics and African-Americans possess a mobile phone (compared to 80 percent of Caucasians), and they use more mobile tools, as well. Three-fifths of African-American mobile owners use their phone to access the internet. And while users between the ages of 18 and 29 are still dominant, the other segments are beginning to catch up.

Multifunction Phones

It’s not surprising that Pew notes that respondents now use their phones in more ways that before. Three-fourths of respondents use their phones for taking pictures, and more than a third use them for games, videos and music. Over half also share multimedia content with friends. “For many, the phone has become absolutely necessary for work and play,” said Smith.