Smartphones: the new digital “Swiss Army Knife”?

The Samsung Galaxy SIII has heralded the latest in a wave of smartphones with a focus “beyond calls” – handsets created specifically for a new generation of users with new demands of their phones – according to a report by mobile network, O2.

On average, smartphone owners now spend over 2 hours a day using their phones, according to O2’s “All About You” Report into the way customers are using their handsets. However, the research found that making calls comes just fifth in a ranking of things they are used for. Smartphone users spend more time browsing the internet (25 minutes a day), social networking (17 minutes a day), playing games (13 minutes a day) and listening to music (16 minutes a day) than they do making calls (12 minutes).

How long we spend using our smartphones (by activity) each day

Activity Time/day
Browsing the internet 24.81
Checking social networks 17.49
Playing games 14.44
Listening to music 15.64
Making calls 12.13
Checking/writing emails 11.1
Text messaging 10.2
Watching TV/films 9.39
Reading books 9.3
Taking photographs 3.42
Total 128

David Johnson, General Manager Devices for O2 in the UK, said: “Smartphones are now being used like a digital ‘Swiss Army Knife’, replacing possessions like watches, cameras, books and even laptops. While we’re seeing no let-up in the number of calls customers make or the amount of time they spend speaking on their phones, their phone now plays a far greater role in all aspects of their lives.”

The “All About You” report was commissioned by O2 to mark the launch of the Samsung Galaxy SIII, which is one of the first phones to lavish more attention on these previously “next generation” functions and to be designed for a new generation of smartphone users. It also found that, for many people, the smartphone is replacing other possessions including alarm clocks, watches, cameras, diaries and even laptops and TVs as they become more intuitive and easier to use for things “beyond calls”.

The phone has also started to replace a range of other possessions:

  • Over half (54%) say they use their phones in place of an alarm clock
  • Almost half (46%) have dispensed with a watch in favour of using their smartphone
  • Two-in-five (39%) have switched to use their phone instead of a separate camera
  • Over one quarter use their phone instead of a laptop (28%)
  • One in ten have got shot of a games console in favour of their handset (11%)
  • Perhaps indicative of where things are moving, one in twenty smartphone users have switched to use their phone in place of a TV (6%) or reading physical books (6%)

O2 has seen a rise in demand for phones that behave more like devices that know, understand and respond to their users. Phones like the latest Samsung Galaxy SIII are the most recent example. It includes voice interaction (the phone will “snooze” if a user asks it to when the alarm goes off), new interfaces such as eye tracking (which mean that the screen won’t go dark when a user is looking at it) and more sophisticated and personalised touchscreen functions are the latest innovations handset makers have developed in response to consumer demand.

Johnson continued: “We’re starting to see more and more phones being developed that interact with their users in new and interesting ways. Intelligent voice recognition and eye tracking are making phones even easier to use and we know our customers will love them.”

What we use our phones for…

Function %age
Taking photographs 74%
Making phone calls 71%
Text messaging 69%
Surfing the internet 69%
Alarm clock 64%
Email 52%
As a watch 50%
Using it as an address book 50%
Using social networks 49%
Use it as a diary 39%
Music 39%
Playing games 38%
Watching TV/films 22%
Reading books 13%

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Categories: Contactless Technology, Digital Wallet, Loyalty, Mobile Payments

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