What People Do With Their Smartphones
People use their smartphones for far more than keeping in touch with family, friends and colleagues.
Research finds that while smartphones get used a lot for communicating, people also pull out their phone to surf, play and work.
The results come from a study that tracked people on their smartphones in the United States and United Kingdom.
Volunteers received free phones running the Windows Mobile platform and equipped with an unlimited voice and data plan, along with software that recorded the phone's use.
The study also looked at how much people used their smartphones.
The results show that people spent half the time on their smartphones to keep in touch with others through emails, text messages and phone calls. The next most common activity, accounting for 12% of smartphone use, was browsing the internet.
The phones were also versatile entertainment gadgets. One-fifth of phone time was split almost equally between media and games. People listened to music, looked at pictures, watched videos and played games like poker and solitare.
The phones weren't all play, though. People did spend a portion of their time, although small (just two percent), being productive. They consulted calendars, read PDF files and wrote documents. An equal amount of time was spent looking at maps.
Despite most people having at least 40 applications on their phones, almost everyone only handled one app at a time. Seldom did people multitask with their phones.
Interestingly, it mattered little what people said their main reason was for using a smartphone. Some wanted a smartphone to keep connected with people, others wanted a tool to help them manage their life. Still others hoped a smartphone would enhance their productivity at work. Regardless of their reasons, everyone ended up spending similar proportions of time using their phone to play, surf, work and communicate.
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.