FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Americans Embrace Multi-Function Cell Phones

The results of the latest study from Pew Internet and American Life Project should hardly surprise anybody -- Americans love their cell phones, and are making greater use of advanced features such as MP3 players, games, Internet connectivity and cameras.

Howard Rheingold summed up the essence of the study: "We think of them as mobile phones, but the personal computer, mobile phone and the Internet are merging into some new medium like the personal computer in the 1980s or the Internet in the 1990s."

The details of the study offer some interesting insights about our growing love affair with our cell phones:

  • One quarter of those surveyed said they couldn't imagine life without their cell phones.

  • 28% admit they don't drive as safely as they should because they often make calls from behind the wheel.

  • Three quarters have relied on their cell phones to help out in an actual emergency.

  • 36% say they are sometimes shocked by the size of their phone bill.

  • Nine in ten say they encounter rude cell phone users (talking too loud, phoning in an inappropriate place, etc.), though only 8% admit being rude themselves.

Meanwhile, a UK study found that inexpensive 3G phones are actually changing social habits. People interact more frequently via video calls, post to blogs directly via their phones, make creative videos, and otherwise use their phones to document their lives. The falling cost of 3G phones is driving their adoption, to be sure; despite increased capabilities, the survey found that most cell phone users valued styling, cost and battery life when selecting a phone.

Source: AP (via Excite)