News Analysis: A highly flawed analyst report equates smartphones with gaming, and this means people over 55 aren't interested in sophisticated mobile devices with lots of features or options.
According to a
research report released Feb. 14 by In-Stat,
people over 55 aren't interested in the complexity of smartphones. The report
claims that the research proves that older users want numerical keypads and
that they're not interested in QWERTY keyboards, which the report calls a "gaming-oriented
form factor." If this sounds like a disconnect to you, get ready for
based on about 900 self-selected participants, only measures participants over
55 or under 55 with no rationale for why that particular age division was
chosen. Furthermore, it seems to ignore the vast market for smartphones that
aren't used for gaming.
entire universe of BlackBerries was ignored, as were iPhones and the segment of
Android devices that are sold primarily as corporate devices. According to this
study, the only two options are a gaming device, or a plain old cell phone.
Some details are in the
In-Stat press release, but the complete report will cost you nearly
the study, users over 55 aren't interested in Bluetooth, WiFi, memory-card
slots or e-mail. Apparently those of us over 55 (including me) shouldn't be
sold smartphones. After all, if the analyst who performed this study is
correct, the phone companies are wasting their time. I guess now that I've read
this study I need to dig out my old Motorola RAZR and turn off the Bluetooth
feature; of course, that means I won't be able to use the phone while I drive,
but clearly I'm probably too old to be driving anyway.
So with that
study in mind, perhaps it's time for some actual facts. Let's start with facts
about me. I'm over 55 (which is pretty obvious from my photo). I use a
BlackBerry, which I know will come as a terrible shock to those who have
asserted stridently that I must be an iPhone or Android fanatic. I like the
QWERTY keyboard, and I use WiFi and Bluetooth daily. My editor, who is nearly
as old as I am, uses an iPhone. And just to confuse the issue even more, I've
been reviewing Android phones for eWEEK for a long time.
survey, the bottom line is that the word survey implies some sort of scientific
study with an established methodology. In-Stat's report, despite its name, is
neither a survey nor does it qualify as research, unless you're willing to
expand the definition of "research" beyond its commonly used meanings. To qualify
as a real survey, In-Stat should have used a randomly selected set of
respondents. In addition, it should have chosen each criterion in the survey
according to generally accepted principles of demographic behavior.
Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.
He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.