Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Nearly Half of American Adults Are Smartphone Owners 267

First time accepted submitter saiful76 writes "Nearly half (46%) of American adults are smartphone owners as of February 2012, an increase of 11 percentage points over the 35% of Americans who owned a smartphone last May. Two in five adults (41%) own a cell phone that is not a smartphone, meaning that smartphone owners are now more prevalent within the overall population than owners of more basic mobile phones."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Nearly Half of American Adults Are Smartphone Owners

Comments Filter:
  • Rots your brain (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RightwingNutjob ( 1302813 ) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @08:14PM (#39242965)
    Other than the "convenience" of being able to get at your email, a crutch for a stunted sense of direction, and a safety net for poor before-hand planning, the only reason I can see for having a smartphone is for keeping yourself entertained on the go. That brings me to: are people's minds so empty that they can't stand just a bit of quiet time without outside stimulation? Somehow we've been doing it for millennia without going completely bonkers, just sayin'.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Read history, we DID go completely bonkers, just sayin'.
    • by Erpo ( 237853 )

      I can't speak for other people, but it trips me out to be walking through the supermarket chatting online. My inner ten-year-old is so happy. Other than that, I like using it as a music player on trips, an audiobook player, an ebook reader and a geocaching toy,

    • Call me crazy, but I use my phone to have constant access to my Exchange Server so I can... get ready... work! I don't understand why people, who don't need to be connected 24/7 get these things. I'd much rather have a cheap-o, simple cell phone than what I have now, but, as it is, I need to be available all of the time to my company. I'm not going to squint to watch videos on it, and I certainly don't need to know what's going on on Facebook all the time, so I really can't explain why most people would get
    • > ...the only reason I can see for having a smartphone
      > is for keeping yourself entertained on the go.

      Yup. You can play Angry Birds while taking a dump in the bathroom. Now *THAT* is "keeping yourself entertained on the go".

  • 46% eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @08:26PM (#39243037)
    The other 54% must have realized that the offerings in this country are so third world they might as well just go with the cheapest, most basic offering because their peers expect them to have a cell phone. The other 46% think they're actually getting a good deal paying $80 or more a month for bandwidth caps, high latency, and cell phones with half their features turned off because America's mobile infrastructure is so crappy it can't handle what would, in the rest of the first world, be considered basic service.
    • Sprint doesn't have bandwidth caps. I'd agree with the rest though.
    • Actually I am a bit surprised by the number. These are luxury items after all, and I'd suspect at least 25% of American just can't afford them even if they wanted them. The survey shows 13% of older Americans have the phones which should be the largest group in the demographics (or else my social security is safe after all). Thus numbers just don't feel right. Maybe they're defining "smart phone" in a simple way; ie any mobile phone that has any application at all, which includes what most kids would ca

    • I'm not saying you're wrong here but I'm curious what all thos cool stuff I'm missing out on is. I have a Galaxy Nexus on Verizon with a grandfathered unlimited data plan. Its definitely unlimited as I regularly exceed 500 MB a day. I don't pay for texts as I use google voice and my phone is with the lowest minutes as I make calls via voip. So I get all the internet I want and its pretty much instant loading as lte has good coverage here and I have unlimited mi utes since I use voip. So what am I missing?
  • Good god! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 04, 2012 @08:27PM (#39243047)

    It's worse than we ever suspected...
    My friends, my family.. Every one of them could potentially be a smartphone owner.
    I could be a smartphone owner myself and not even know it!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 04, 2012 @08:30PM (#39243065)

    Everything now is a bloated smartphone with poor reception and even poorer battery life

  • by NixieBunny ( 859050 ) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @08:33PM (#39243079) Homepage
    At some point, this market will reach saturation. Then the service providers will have to compete on something like price or service to keep market share up. Hopefully, this will be good for the users of these fine machines.
    • Is price keeping people away? As the user of an older non-smart phone I procured to let me text easily (it has a keyboard) while avoiding a smart phone, price is the issue. Not the price of the phone, but the price of the service. Why buy a smart phone when I have to pay an extra $30 a month min for a paltry amount of bandwidth?
      • The price of data service is what I'm talking about. Right now, the providers can upgrade old-phone customers to pay $30 more per month for a data plan, and this boosts their revenue year over year. Eventually they'll run out of upgraders. That's when the pricing fun begins.
    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      The price of the phone is nothing really. It's the damn contract that costs your ass. I refuse to pay out the ass for 3G data that is about the same speed as a dial-up modem in actual practice and is choked even harder once you actually use it for anything other than checking e-mail and browsing a few youtube vidz. All for more than my 20mbps always on and never throttled connection at my house. I just can't bend over and take it like that.

      • Well I won't pay more for a data plan than my high speed internet costs while being forbidden to use it as an internet gateway. Give me a smart phone that will do wifi without 3g crap and I'll be happy, until then the dumb phone is still far more than I need.

        And if I can check email chances are it will be the stupid phone's email and not the address I've been using for 16 years, and I just don't want to browse through web mail on a screen that small, no matter how many kids quiver at the thought of the mar

        • by icebike ( 68054 ) *

          Give me a smart phone that will do wifi without 3g crap and I'll be happy, until then the dumb phone is still far more than I need.

          Any smartphone without a cell plan (even with out a sim installed) will do wifi.
          And people you probably know have a drawer full of these phones that they are no longer using.
          Ask them to factory reset one of them (wipe), and give them $20 bucks for it.

          You don't get much besides web browsing and email, and you have to be in wifi range, and
          you can even arrange for it to get incoming and maybe outgoing calls for zero money.

          As long as you have wifi.

    • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @09:35PM (#39243501) Journal

      The price came down a couple years ago. You can get an Android slider for $99, and Virgin Mobile unlimited data (they've been threatening to cap it for some time) with about 300 minutes included for $35/month. Boost Mobile is $40-55/month. Other pre-paid services are nearly as cheap.

      If you're paying $80/month for your cell phone service, you're probably an idiot, who is a slave to advertising and doesn't know how to shop around.

  • by Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @08:37PM (#39243093) Homepage

    I have a phone that has a Web browser, can send and receive e-mail, has a full QWERTY keyboard, and run Java apps. But I'm pretty sure it's considered a "dumb" phone. What exactly is it that makes a phone "smart"? Gestures? Siri? Android or iOS? My dumb phone would have been considered "smart" just 12 years ago, when the first Blackberry was introduced!

    • Actually tony, They call those "feature phones" these days, not a "dumb phone" but not a "smart phone"
      • I guess the "feature" isn't having to pay monthy data fees even if you bought the phone at full cost.. My mom will be feature phone user as long as somebody is will to make them. The trick is to find a feature phone that has wifi and a usable browser for smartphone at hotspots, dumbphone everywhere else. If my phone wasn't an addiction I would seriously considering following her lead.
      • But the survey does not necessarily check out your phone. In 2011 survey it seems 1/3 of respondents just claimed they had smart phone, only 2/5s were identified as smart phone based on the brand or platform. So some of those surveyed could have just reported something different than the term that kids use. Language is fluid, and marketing language is super-fluid. "Feature phone" is a term I had not even heard less than a year ago.

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      My dumb phone would have been considered "smart" just 12 years ago, when the first Blackberry was introduced!

      Yes, 12 years is hardly any time at all:

      * People were still buying 5100-series Nokias powered by Ni-Cd batteries as on-contract phones.
      * The end of the Newton MessagePad was still a recent event.
      * Everyone was (mistakenly) hyping up for the release of Windows M.E.
      * The term "smartphone" didn't even exist.

    • by saihung ( 19097 )

      In 2005, when I bought a Nokia N75, a Symbian S60 phone with a number keypad, AT&T said it was a featurephone. In 2008, when I bought a Nokie E71 that had basically the same OS (and exactly the same capacity for installing applications), AT&T said that I owned a smartphone and cancelled my unlimited featurephone plan. I've been told that AT&T labeled some J2ME phones as "smart" phones, even though by most definitions they aren't because they cannot run native apps. The distinction seems to be

  • Couldn't care less about the features of a smartphone.

    • Me either. I just upgraded two days ago to the LG Extravert (hate those stupid names). It is a dumb phone, but with a physical keyboard. I do end up texting a lot with family all over the states, and even the boss. My old phone was 6 years old (but state of the art for a dumb phone then) and I would still be using it if texting with it didn't drive me crazy.

      On the upside, this $79 (with contract) phone cost me nothing since Verizon gave me a 100 buck credit for not changing phones in forever.

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      I've noticed the vast majority of smartphone users simply browse facebook all day long. How smart does a phone need to be to do that?

      • by LoadWB ( 592248 )

        Not very. My Sony Ericsson "feature phone" has a built-in Facebook app that I've been trying to remove. When I have a text or media message to send to a contact, the first phuqn option in the "Send" menu is "To Facebook" or "To YouTube." Annoying as hell.

      • by icebike ( 68054 ) *

        I've noticed the vast majority of smartphone users simply browse facebook all day long. How smart does a phone need to be to do that?

        I'm surprised you have time to post on Slashdot since you are keeping tabs on the "the vast majority" of smartphone users.

      • by steveha ( 103154 )

        I've noticed the vast majority of smartphone users simply browse facebook all day long. How smart does a phone need to be to do that?

        Microsoft tried a social featurephone. It was called the Kin. [] RIP. [] It made sense when they first thought of the idea, partly because there was going to be a special data plan for it that would cost less than an unlimited data plan. When a manager at Microsoft decreed that the Kin project needed to use Windows Phone OS, the project was delayed by over a year, and by then Ve

  • by rueger ( 210566 ) * on Sunday March 04, 2012 @08:52PM (#39243183) Homepage
    A significant number of those people aren't as smart as their phones...
  • From the article ...

    About the Survey

    This report is based on the findings of a survey on Americans' use of the Internet. The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from January 20 to February 19, 2012, among a sample of 2,253 adults, age 18 and older. Telephone interviews were conducted in English and Spanish by landline (1,352) and cell phone (901, including 440 without a landline phone). For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 2.3 percentage points. For results based Internet users (n=1,729), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

    So 41% (conveniently rounded down to "two in five") is 5 percentage points below 46% (conveniently rounded up to "nearly half" when it would have also been rounded down to "two in five" if a consistent quantum of 20% had been used). Five percentage points is *just* above the sampling error of 4.6. Yes, statistics mavens who know more than me, that means significance obtained at p < 0.05, but it also means that the actual values could just as easily have been 43% and 44%, which isn't

    • by ae1294 ( 1547521 )

      My read: about 40% of the adults have an old-style phone; slightly more have a new-style phone. But what do the remaining nearly 20% have?

      They're unemployed and on the verge of being homeless.

    • by Xtifr ( 1323 )

      What's this "consistent quantum of 20%" nonsense? If you round to the nearest 10%, which is much more common, you get 40% and 50% percent, respectively. Now, if you were to express 40% as a ratio, what would be the most normal way to do so? That's right, two-fifths. Which is where the "fifths" comes from. To assume that that means that all the other ratios have to be expressed as fifths is silly. Nobody says "four-tenths". We automatically simplify that. But when it comes to 50%, we simplify that to

      • by pz ( 113803 )

        Phrases like "2 out of every 5" implies quantizing to 20%. If they were consistently quantizing to 10% they'd have said 4 of 10, but then that's not different enough sounding from 46%.

        In other words, it's a snow job.

        • by Xtifr ( 1323 )

          Phrases like "2 out of every 5" implies quantizing to 20%.

          On what planet? You might just as well claim that because they referred to 46% as "about one half", they were obviously "quantizing" to 50%. These are Earth-humans we're discussing here, not Vulcans. We here on Earth routinely simply our ratios without implying anything by it.

  • more like half people, or half of half people are talked into getting a smartphone, because it's "cheap" as it's almost offered when renewing the subscription, or maybe because smartphones crash in price and soon are to the $100 mark, or because they believe their blackberry look-a-like with a music player and web browser is a smartphone. endless reasons. study doesn't say how many people own a smartphone for text and voice only, and never hook it up to a PC, never plug the proprietary ear buds in, and nev

  • by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @09:22PM (#39243413)
    ...has a Windows phone :-)
  • I'm planning to buy a iPad this year; and, once that's happened, I'm giving my Android phone away and moving back to a "dumb" phone. Smart phones are just too compromised in too many ways.

  • What % of American adults are smart?

  • About 15% [] of Americans are below the poverty line. According to TFA, 19% of Americans don't own any kind of cell phone (smart or dumb). I don't know whether this says more about how Americans define poverty or more about how much Americans love cell phones. Someday soon I expect to be the last affluent, educated American under 50 who doesn't own a cell phone.

  • by Jazari ( 2006634 ) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @11:12PM (#39243955)
    For police, smartphones are the DNA or fingerprints of the 21st century. Soon every crime investigation will start with "any DNA on scene?" followed by "Who do the tower logs say was in the area at the time of the crime?"
  • I don't even own a mobile phone. I wonder how many American adults that would be. :P

Profanity is the one language all programmers know best.