Using Smartphones: Everyone's Different
When scientists snooped on people using smartphones, what they found surprised them.
There's nothing typical about how much time people spend on their smartphones. "We find immense diversity among users," the study's authors conclude.
How often and how many hours each day someone uses their phone ranges widely from person to person. Whether they're a teenager or scientist has little bearing on how much their smartphone is a part of their life.
The research discovered that some people typically use their phones 10 times a day, while others pull out their phone 200 times on most days. Everyone else falls somewhere in between those two extremes.
An average smartphone session varies from 10 seconds to four minutes. But there is no link between how often someone uses their phone and how long they spend on their phone during one session. People who use their phone for longer periods don't necessarily pull out their phone fewer times in a day.
As a result, the amount of time each person averages on their smartphone ranges from as little as 30 minutes to over eight hours a day. It astonished even the researchers to discover that some people spend one-third of their day on a smartphone.
Finding Out How People Use Smartphones
The study tracked 250 people on their smartphones for several months. Participants included high school students, computer scientists and others living in the United States and United Kingdom.
Volunteers for the study received free phones with unlimited voice, text and data plans. They had either an HTC Dream smartphone with an Android operating system or one of various smartphones on a Windows Mobile platform.
A string was attached to the freebie: the smartphones came loaded with software that spied on the phone's use. Researchers analyzed the recorded data to find out when and how the volunteers used their phones. The study also looked at what people did with their phones.
Hossein Falaki, Ratul Mahajan, Srikanth Kandula, Dimitrios Lymberopoulos, Ramesh Govindan and Deborah Estrin. 2010. Diversity in Smartphone Usage. MobiSys’10. June 15–18, 2010. San Francisco, California, USA.