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Pew Study Reveals Who's Using Smartphones And How

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A new study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project has some interesting findings about how Americans are using smartphones.

About one-third, or 33 percent, of Americans surveyed own a smartphone, though adoption is higher among young people, wealthy individuals, and African-American and Latino users.

So what are people doing with their phones? Eighty-seven percent of smartphone users are going online or checking their mail with their smartphones, 67 percent saying they do so daily. Perhaps most notably, 25% of smartphone owners use their phones as their primary means of connecting to the internet. The Washington Post saw this as a sign some are "cutting the computer cord," and noted that people who are "minorities, younger than 30 and have low incomes" are "using mobile devices as a suitable replacement for buying expensive computers and paying DSL or cable modem bills every month[...]"

The Pew study also tracked smartphone users by demographics. Among those who have what Pew calls "higher than average levels of smartphone adoption":

  • "The financially well-off" - Those who make over $75,000 per year are (surprise!) more likely to own the more expensive smartphones. Fifty-nine percent do.
  • The college-educated - Attaining a degree at a college university apparently makes you significantly more likely to own a smartphone. Forty-nine percent of grads have one.
  • Young people - Those under the age of 45 are much more likely to own a smartphone. Leading the way are Americans age 25-34, with a whopping 58% owning smartphones.
  • African-Americans and Latinos - A significant portion--44%, well above the national average--own smartphones.

In the survey of 2,277 adults, Android was the most popular smartphone platform, followed by iPhone and BlackBerry.

Though this is the reputable Pew Research Center's first smartphone survey, it is not America's only look at a wide swath of smartphone users. In April, Google surveyed 5,000 smartphone owners and found, among other things, that many of them were using their phones on the toilet. In Canada, meanwhile, a study found that, similar to the U.S., 33% of its citizens were using smartphones.

To read more, visit the Pew Internet website, where the full, fascinating study is available online for free.

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