Does Everybody Own a Mobile Phone?

IT Management

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If home computing ever does truly die, the culprit is an obvious choice. The mobile phone. While I'm one to believe that home computing hasn't so much died, it's just that most homes that want computers, be it Mac or PC, have them, and so, when it's time to purchase that next gadget, the mobile device industry gets the attention, and the revenue.

Face it, it's cheaper to upgrade a mobile phone than it is a home computer or a laptop.

That being said, the mobile phone industry is absolutely booming with what appears to be recession-proof growth. According to the latest study from Pew Internet, just about everybody in the United States has a mobile phone. While that may sound like hyperbole, it's actually much closer to the truth than you might first realize.

The report reveals that 83 percent of American adults own a mobile phone. With such a proliferation, one wonders why companies like Time-Warner and AT&T even bother with home service when it comes to phones. You can never have too much access to voice-over communication, apparently.

While the 83 percent is a staggering amount, there are other details of note.

Pew Internet also distinguished between simple mobile phones and the growing-in-popularity smartphone. While it wasn't clearly stated, the apparent difference between a simple cellular phone and a smartphone is the data plan. If your phone requires a data plan, it's probably a smartphone, at least in the eyes of survey takers. In regards to smartphone ownership, 35 percent of American adults own either an iPhone, Android or a Blackberry (with a data plan subscription, of course).

I'll leave the fact that 83 percent plus 35 percent is more than 100 percent, meaning, it's pretty clear some of that 83 percent had to be factored into the smartphone ownership result.

Moving on, when it comes to mobile phone activities, sending text messages is king. 73 percent of mobile phone owners send text messages and take pictures, an activity included in the text message percentages.

Other interesting findings include:

  • 40 percent of mobile phone owners have used them in emergencies
  • 42 percent use their mobile phone when they're bored
  • 13 percent of owners use their mobile phone to avoid interaction with people
  • The survey also breaks down the difference in use between smartphone users and plain old mobile phone users, which they presented in a chart:

    Phone Usage

    It's obvious that has users switch to more robust, powerful devices, they tend to do more with them. It's not a stretch to think an iPhone 4 owner would get more use out of their device than a Motorola--or is that Google now?--Razr would.

    The question I have is, how long before these numbers switch? How long will it take for smartphone owners to outnumber their mobile phone owning counterparts? Let us know what you think.