Smartphones Provide Info, Entertainment

August 16, 2011

pew-smartphone-experiences-aug-2011.JPGSmartphone owners are much more likely than owners of other cell phones to use their device to obtain information and/or entertainment, according to [pdf] an August 2011 study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Seventy-nine percent of smartphone owners have used their device to get information they needed right away in the last 30 days, 2.5 times the 31% of other cell phone owners who have done so.

In addition, 72% of smartphone owners have used their device for entertainment or when they were bored in the last 30 days, 3.4 times the 21% of other cell phone owners who have done so. However, the most substantial difference occurs in the rate of being frustrated because a phone was taking too long to download something in the past 30 days, which 36% of smartphone owners experienced, 4.5 times the 8% of other cell phone owners.

Smartphone Games, Music, SocNets Skew Younger

pew-smartphone-age-aug-2011.JPGLooking at participation in a variety of smartphone activities by age of owner, the study finds that rates of texting, picture taking, accessing the web, sending a photo/video, emailing, and app downloading are all above 50% for smartphone owners of all ages. More significant age differentials being showing up for activities such as game playing, which 76% of smartphone owners do, 85% more than the 41% of smartphone owners 50 and older.

In addition, smartphone-based activities such as playing music (83% of 18-to-29-year-olds, 10% more than the 39% of those 50 and up) and accessing a social networking site (76% of 18-to-29-year-olds, 137% more than 32% of those 50 and up) skew heavily toward younger owners. The widest age difference occurs in video calling/chatting, with 25% of 18-to-29-year-olds participating, close to triple the 9% of 30-to-49-year-olds and quadruple the 7% of those 50 and up.

Other Findings

  • 35% of US adults own a smartphone of some kind.
  • 20% of cell phone owners experience frustration because something takes too long to download.
  • 16% of cell phone owners have trouble reading something because the text is too small.
  • 10% of cell phone owners have difficulty entering a lot of text on their phone.

9 in 10 Smartphone Owners Text

About nine in 10 (92%) US smartphone owners send or receive text messages, 56% more than the 59% of cell phone owners who do so, according to other study results. Pew data also shows that smartphone owners engage in a variety of other phone-based activities at much higher rates than other cell phone owners.

For example, smartphone owners take pictures at the same rate difference (92% to 59%). Even more significantly, 84% of smartphone owners access the internet with their device, close to six times the 15% of other cell phone owners who take part in this activity. The most striking difference, however, is in app download. Sixty-nine percent of smartphone owners download apps, more than 17 times the 4% of other cell phone owners who do so.

About the Data: Results are based on a national telephone survey of 2,277 adults conducted April 26-May 22, 2011. 1,522 interviews were conducted by landline phone, and 755 interviews were conducted by cell phone. Interviews were conducted in both English and Spanish.

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