Mobile email growing like crazy

Wireless devices such as the Blackberry will help push mobile email users up to 350m by 2010

Checking your email on the move is not just done by business users - more and more people are accessing their email on a mobile device, according to analyst firm Gartner.

Mobile email, traditionally a niche business service, is now seeping down through to consumers. Gartner calls the increased use of email on the move a democratisation process. It predicts that by 2010, 350 million people will be sending and receiving their email via mobile devices. An increase of products and services available will help bring up the number of mobile email users.

The 350 million figure will represent a fifth of all email accounts, a massive increase from the 20 million or so business users accessing their email wirelessly today.

Mass market mobile email

By 2012, there will be a mass market for mobile email devices, and products will have standard functions.

"Over the next three years wireless email will become increasingly popular with both businesses and consumers," says Monica Basso, Gartner's research vice president.

"By 2012, wireless email products will be fully interoperable, commoditised and have standard features. They will be shipping in larger volumes at greatly reduced prices. Convergence will happen on the client side, hiding technology complexity from users and allowing them to focus on messaging content.

"By 2017, wireless email will be fully integrated with other messaging tools into personal, converged communications. Companies like Microsoft , IBM and RIM are already taking some steps in this direction," Basso says.