Americans are using smartphones and cell phones more than ever, and using them to avoid human contact, according to new data from the Pew Research Center.
one-third of American adults own a smartphone "of some kind," according to new survey data from the Pew Research Center's
Internet & American Life Project. That's in comparison to the 83 percent
who own a cell phone.
words, if you ever needed proof that Americans are truly going mobile, it's
here. Moreover, Americans have become increasingly dependent on their handsets
as they navigate the slings and arrows of daily life: According to the survey,
some 27 percent said they'd encountered a situation within the previous month
"in which they had trouble doing something because they did not have their
phone at hand." Another 13 percent said they'd used their cell phone "to avoid
interacting with the people around them."
cell phone activities included texting and picture-taking (73 percent),
followed by sending photos and video to others (54 percent) and accessing the
Internet (44 percent). With smartphone users, those percentages were larger:
Some 90 percent used their more powerful devices to snap photos or send texts,
while 80 percent used it to cruise the Internet or send photos and video.
along with tablets, have increasingly become the center of people's
Internet-connected lives. Research firm IHS recently predicted tablet shipments
would reach 61.9 million units this year, versus 19.7 million in 2010, helping
drive rising adoption of Internet-enabled devices.
figures are the latest evidence that the Internet is not just for PCs anymore,"
Jordan Selburn, principal analyst for consumer platforms at IHS, wrote in an
Aug. 12 statement. "Increasingly, each Internet-enabled electronics device is
vying to become the center of what is known as the digital living room,
aggregating content throughout the home."
media tablets in its calculations, but excluded smartphones, which the firm
tracks under the metric of wireless communications equipment. "Although IHS
officially designates tablets as wireless devices," read the firm's Aug. 12
note concerning the results, "they are being included in the Internet-enabled
consumer electronics category because of the key role they are playing in the
market for the connected home."
smartphones continue their burgeoning sales run. According to research firm
Gartner, Google Android was the leading smartphone supplier worldwide in the
second quarter, with 43.4 percent of the market, followed by Nokia with 22.1
percent, Apple with 18.1 percent and Research In Motion with 11.7 percent.
Combined, those percentages represent millions of devices-and millions of opportunities
for avoiding interaction with your fellow human beings.
Follow Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.