This month’s introduction of the next-generation iPad marked a new round of excitement over the possibilities of mobile gaming.

Whether or not the iPad is even a mobile device is open to debate. It’s certainly not like other smartphones.

“Many iPads aren’t really being used as mobile devices, according to extensive research by Conde Nast,” reports.

“A lot of people are using them at this stage as household devices,” Scott McDonald, senior VP for market research at Conde, said in the article. “That means multiple readers per copy but it also means they’re not necessarily true mobile devices yet.”

Mobile industry growth
Coming from a technology perspective, however, the iPad 2 is much more like a mobile device than a desktop computer. For the purposes of discussing mobile gaming, then, let’s lump it in with the iPhones and the Androids. It’s certainly of a piece with the technology used by those devices.

And that technology represents a huge growth section that’s predicted to get even bigger in the coming years.

2010 was the third consecutive year that global mobile data use not only grew but nearly tripled, according to Cisco’s latest Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast.

More highlights from that report, per Ars Technica:

  1. “There will be 788 million mobile-only Internet users by 2015.
  2. “Global mobile data traffic will increase by a factor of 26 by 2015.
  3. “World mobile data grew by a factor of 2.6 in 2010 from 2009.
  4. “Average smartphone usage doubled: 79 MB per month, up from 35 MB per month in 2009.
  5. “Google reports that the number of YouTube videos delivered to mobile devices around the world tripled in 2010, to 200 million video views each day.
  6. “40 percent of smartphone Internet use takes place in the home. Twenty-five percent of it happens at work. The rest occurs in transit.”

Apple’s iPhone has more market share, but Google’s Android operating system is rapidly catching up.

More growth to come
And remember, all this growth is occurring during a global economic downturn.

Interestingly, the UK government has just added smartphones to its list of basic living costs, reports, in another sign that mobile interaction isn’t just the latest tech trend, but a major part of our everyday lives.

Gaming market
More and more online casinos are becoming compatible with mobile technology. But not all mobile casinos are online yet, and the iPad lacks real-money gambling apps. (They’re slowly coming to the iPhone, as bwin’s recent real-money poker app shows).

Despite that, casino affiliates should still be making every effort to make their online business to mobile-friendly.

“The availability of real money iPad gambling applications is still modest, to say the least,” points out in a recent news release. “The biggest issue facing gambling software designers is that most non-PC applications are developed with Flash technology. The Apple iPad is not Flash-compatible, therefore programmers are hustling to design these new platforms that are iPad friendly.”

“According to statistics from the most popular search engines, the rate of internet gambling enthusiasts searching for real money iPad gambling opportunities has been on a steady incline, with relatively few dependable results to come by,” the release continues.

Mobile opportunity
So don’t think of mobile gaming to off-limits to online gambling. Think of it as an opportunity in its earliest stages.

Has the new mobile market growth impacted your affiliate marketing plan? Sound off in the comments and share your thoughts with the CAP community.

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