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Cel Phone Use

The latest project memo from Pew Internet and American Life is about cel phone use. My favourite chart is the one that compares cel phone use across generational groupings.
I think it shows we’re seeing the thin edge of the wedge where phones take precedence as the device of choice in certain segments. I read recently that Millennials are far less likely to wear watches due to the time feature on their phones. Now PDA sales are declining while phones offer more PDA style features and functions.
Key “Swiss Army Knife” features folks would like to see are:
Send and receive text messages
Take still pictures
Play games
Access the internet
Send / receive email
Perform internet searches for things like movie listings, weather and stock quotes
Trade instant messages
Play music
Record their own video clips
Get mobile maps
Watch video or TV programs
I’ve written about this before but we better start testing all of our products on these small screens for usability and usefulness.
The conclusions are interesting:
Implications of these findings
When it comes to assessing the social impact of the cell phone, this survey provides evidence that:
– Cell phones enable real-time action and engagement. One example of this is how people use their mobile phones to gain help in emergencies. Another example is evident when people use their phones to alert each other on the fly about all kinds of things – personal news, spur-of-the-moment events, gossip, changes in plans, convening of groups or meetings, and even political activity. One term now used to describe these communications is “smart mobbing” – which means that this technology allows people to pass along information, learn and act instantly on data that is important to them.
– Cell phone use is encouraging people to reallocate portions of their time and their communications patterns. Many use their phones for spontaneous “calling around” when they have free time on their hands. They make these spontaneous calls when they are traveling, when they are waiting in line, and when they are walking down the street. It is likely this is adding to the volume and flow communication with others.
– Cell phone use is changing the character of our public spaces. It is now possible to be sitting on a train or walking through a park and hear some of the most intimate details of strangers’ lives because of the way they are chatting on their cells. To a great many people, this comes as an unwelcome consequence of their use of a mobile phone. Cell phones are blurring the boundaries between what is public and what is private.
– Cell phone use is changing expectations about when and how others are available to us. These results show how much cell owners have a love-hate relationship with their phones. On the one hand, they like that they can reach out to others no matter where they are. On the other hand, they are sometimes not too happy that others – perhaps including their bosses and work colleagues – can reach out to them at any place and time.
– This survey highlights the new ways that mobile media use might grow in the near future. There are notable numbers of cell owners who know about and want access to the new applications that are being installed in cell phones – internet browsing (especially for maps and directions), music playing, gaming, photo sharing, video watching, and, of course, instant messaging and texting. As we look into the future, it is possible to see how the cell phone might become the Swiss Army knife of media and communications for a considerable number of users.”

Posted on: April 17, 2006, 9:21 am Category: Uncategorized

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