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iPhone most popular mobile device to read HTML email

Mobile devices used to read html emailI have been working lately on a library for user-agent handling, which among other things can be used to analyze log files like those of the Apache web server. I used this library to analyze which mobile devices are being used to read HTML emails. Based on one week of log files from June we see a strong dominance of Apple’s iPhone, followed by the iPod Touch (the only iPod with an email client and browser) and Windows Mobile devices. It will be interesting to see what will happen when the iPhone is officially for sale next month here in the Netherlands and many of our neighboring countries. Until now most older smart phones and pda’s only support text email or generate a text version from the HTML, which makes it difficult for email senders to ensure that their newsletters and mailings appear in the correct way.
Displaying optimized web pages for mobile devices is easy. It is possible to present the best layout, depending on the model, which can be detected with libraries like the WURFL Java API. Since email is being delivered to a mailbox, we can not optimize the layout on the fly, depending on the used device and client, assuming that recipients will read their email both on a mobile device as well as on a regular computer.
So I am glad to see the arrival of the next generation of smart phones with much better internet integration, including bigger displays, standard complaint web browsers and full-fledged email clients. They help to reduce the gap between the desktop and mobile internet experience.

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