We’re entering another paradigm shift in computing. In several years – when mobile broadband networks become universal and reliable, and when hardware and data-plan prices drop to competitive levels – phones will have replaced PCs for most of non-specialist computing needs. More than forty percent of iPhone users already use their phones more than PCs to access the Web, according to a just-released study by comScore for the mobile advertising platform AdMob. “While this is self-reported data, it points toward a near-term future when growing numbers people use their smartphones as primary and their PCs as secondary ways to access the Internet,” according to the study’s press release.

“This phenomenon is already true in many developing nations, where mobile phones are outstripping PCs for Internet access -- and where search volumes on mobile devices are approaching or exceeding the PC accordingly,” according to the press release.

The study also reveals that 32.7 percent of iPhone users use the mobile Web more often than they watch TV and 58.1 percent use the mobile Web more than they read print newspapers.

In a comparison between iPhone and iTouch consumers, the smartphone’s consumers predictably trend towards an older, wealthier demographic than the portable media player. Both, though, apparently trend towards being guy things – over 70 of users of both are male.

“This research highlights how important it is for marketers to understand the mobile landscape and the characteristics of the users of a particular platform or mobile device,” said Loftlon Worth, vice president of comScore.

By Mark Alvarez