Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Study says you can't live without your cell phone any longer, ROFL

Nowadays, we don't have to go far to find out something: we "Google" it. The ability of people to find out answers to just about any question or need online now extends to on-the-go activities as well, with the adoption of cell phones and smartphones by the majority of the American population.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project's latest study, "Just-in-time Information through Mobile Connections," showed that 70 percent of all mobile phone owners and 86 percent of smartphone owners have used their phones for one of seven of what Pew called "key activities."

Those activities included:
  • Coordinating a meeting or event (41 percent of mobile phone owners have done this in the past 30 days)
  • Solving an unexpected problem that they or someone else had encountered (35 percent)
  • Decide whether to visit a business, such as a restaurant (30 percent)
  • Settling an argument or discussion by finding information online or via an app (27 percent)
  • Looking up the score of a sporting event (23 percent)
  • Looking up traffic or public transit information to determine the fastest route to get somewhere (20 percent)
  • Emergencies (19 percent)
Results are skewed by age and gender. Younger users are even more dependent on their mobile devices: 88 percent of those aged 18-29 had performed one or more of the above activities in the past 30 days, while in the 30-49 range the number was 76 percent. 57 percent of those aged 50-64, and 46 percent of mobile device owners aged 65 and older performed one of the activities.

Men are more likely to try to settle an argument by looking up proof to back up their point of view: 31 percent of men have used their phones to look up such information compared to 22 percent of women.

Meanwhile, about 65 percent of smartphone owners say they have used their phone to get turn-by-turn navigation or directions while driving, with 15 percent doing so on a typical day. It would be interesting to see the percentage of men vs. women for this use case, since men notoriously (stereotypically) hate to ask directions.

The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International for Pew Research from March 15 to April 3, 2012, among a sample of 2,254 adults, aged 18 and older.

The interviews were conducted in English and Spanish on both landline (1,351) and mobile phone (903, including 410 who say they did not have a landline phone).

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