Most Americans still don’t have smartphones

Editor’s note: Amy Gahran writes about mobile tech for CNN.com. She is a San Francisco Bay Area writer and media consultant whose blog, Contentious.com, explores how people communicate in the online age.

(CNN) — If you’re a tech news junkie (and that’s why you’re reading CNN.com Tech, right?), you might have gotten the impression that everyone already has — or at least wants — a smartphone. Or that smartphones and tablets are the only mobile devices that matter.

But new research from Forrester indicates that while cell phone penetration is high across all U.S. demographics (82 percent of consumers own a cell phone, and 73 percent report that cell phones are their «most used device»), only 17 percent of Americans own a smartphone.

This is true even among the most digitally savvy generations: Gen X (roughly ages 31-40) and Gen Y (roughly ages 18-30).

According to Forrester, Gen Yers and Gen Xers are most likely to own smartphones. However, less than one-fourth of cell phone users in both of those age groups own a smartphone.

Also, Forrester reports that less than one-fourth of U.S. mobile phone owners have an unlimited data plan.

All of which means that the vast majority (more than 75 percent) of the «digital native» generations does not use smartphones. Instead, they rely on cheaper, simpler-feature phones and limited access to mobile data-supported services.

Of course, feature phones are getting smarter. Many of the the most popular feature phones can do a lot beyond voice calls — from text and multimedia messaging to e-mail, to social media, to web browsing, to even running simple apps based on JavaME.

Granted, feature phones generally offer a more difficult and limited digital experience (especially for web browsing). But that doesn’t stop people from using feature phones in sophisticated ways.

In fact, according to Forrester’s figures, just under half of all U.S. mobile owners have internet access from their cell phone. So, since only 17 percent of U.S. cell users have a smartphone, this means that the vast majority of Americans who are able access the mobile internet use feature phones.

But being able to do something is not the same as actually doing it. Just under a quarter of U.S. mobile owners report going online from their phones.

The simplest mobile activities remain the most popular across all types of cell phones. Topping Forrester’s list is SMS text messaging, which nearly 60 percent of all U.S. mobile owners use.

Despite the booming popularity of social networks like Facebook and Twitter, Forrester found that social networking services are one of the least popular non-voice mobile communication functions: Only 14 percent of U.S. mobile users access such services from their phones.

In this report, Forrester seems to be trying to spin its findings to make smartphones sound like the most important current mobile trend. For instance, the report says, «Gen Yers and Gen Xers are the most likely to have smartphones and unlimited data plans, providing the tools needed to lead in mobile Internet adoption» — despite the fact that they’re describing the behavior of a minority in that age range.


Forrester Research reports that less than one-fourth of U.S. mobile phone owners have an unlimited data plan.
Forrester Research reports that less than one-fourth of U.S. mobile phone owners have an unlimited data plan.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Only 17 percent of Americans own a smartphone, a Forrester study finds
  • Less than a fourth of cell phone users in Gen X and Gen Y own a smartphone, study says
  • Study indicates social networking is one of the least popular non-voice mobile communication functions
  • But smartphones have spurred considerable growth in, and demand for, mobile services
RELATED TOPICS

Editor’s note: Amy Gahran writes about mobile tech for CNN.com. She is a San Francisco Bay Area writer and media consultant whose blog, Contentious.com, explores how people communicate in the online age.

(CNN) — If you’re a tech news junkie (and that’s why you’re reading CNN.com Tech, right?), you might have gotten the impression that everyone already has — or at least wants — a smartphone. Or that smartphones and tablets are the only mobile devices that matter.

But new research from Forrester indicates that while cell phone penetration is high across all U.S. demographics (82 percent of consumers own a cell phone, and 73 percent report that cell phones are their «most used device»), only 17 percent of Americans own a smartphone.

This is true even among the most digitally savvy generations: Gen X (roughly ages 31-40) and Gen Y (roughly ages 18-30).

According to Forrester, Gen Yers and Gen Xers are most likely to own smartphones. However, less than one-fourth of cell phone users in both of those age groups own a smartphone.

Also, Forrester reports that less than one-fourth of U.S. mobile phone owners have an unlimited data plan.

All of which means that the vast majority (more than 75 percent) of the «digital native» generations does not use smartphones. Instead, they rely on cheaper, simpler-feature phones and limited access to mobile data-supported services.

Of course, feature phones are getting smarter. Many of the the most popular feature phones can do a lot beyond voice calls — from text and multimedia messaging to e-mail, to social media, to web browsing, to even running simple apps based on JavaME.

Granted, feature phones generally offer a more difficult and limited digital experience (especially for web browsing). But that doesn’t stop people from using feature phones in sophisticated ways.

In fact, according to Forrester’s figures, just under half of all U.S. mobile owners have internet access from their cell phone. So, since only 17 percent of U.S. cell users have a smartphone, this means that the vast majority of Americans who are able access the mobile internet use feature phones.

But being able to do something is not the same as actually doing it. Just under a quarter of U.S. mobile owners report going online from their phones.

The simplest mobile activities remain the most popular across all types of cell phones. Topping Forrester’s list is SMS text messaging, which nearly 60 percent of all U.S. mobile owners use.

Despite the booming popularity of social networks like Facebook and Twitter, Forrester found that social networking services are one of the least popular non-voice mobile communication functions: Only 14 percent of U.S. mobile users access such services from their phones.

In this report, Forrester seems to be trying to spin its findings to make smartphones sound like the most important current mobile trend. For instance, the report says, «Gen Yers and Gen Xers are the most likely to have smartphones and unlimited data plans, providing the tools needed to lead in mobile Internet adoption» — despite the fact that they’re describing the behavior of a minority in that age range.

I’m not saying smartphones are not important. Indeed, they’re very important.

Smartphones have spurred considerable growth in (and demand for) mobile services. They’ve got people thinking more creatively about how to use mobile phones — all kinds of mobile phones.

And they’ve hastened the development and expansion of the mobile internet. Doubtlessly, in the future, all phones will continue to get smarter.

But for now, and for the near future: Smartphones still cost far more up front and over time than most feature phones. While smartphones are getting easier to use, they still generally have a steeper learning curve. Also, smartphones generally offer far worse battery life.

Meanwhile, the U.S. economic and employment scene remains tough and isn’t bouncing back quickly. So the $90-plus-a-month two-year contracts that U.S. wireless carriers tend to lock smartphone users into (along with prohibitively high early termination fees) can seem like a significant financial risk.

When considering the mobile landscape, it’s important to pay attention to the phones and services that people are using.

So smartphones are interesting, but in general they get far more attention and weight in the mainstream media (especially the tech press) than they probably warrant. Less expensive, simpler phones make up the vast majority of the U.S. mobile market — and lots of innovation is happening in the lower end of that market. This trend is likely to continue for some time.

So if you don’t have, or don’t want, a smartphone, don’t worry. Depending on how you use your feature phone, you’re not necessarily getting left behind. You’re also part of the overwhelming majority — and when it comes to mobile, numbers count.

Autor: Gabriel Catalano - human being | (#IN).perfección®

Lo importante es el camino que recorremos, las metas son apenas el resultado de ese recorrido. Llegar generalmente significa volver a empezar!

GENTE COSMO

LIFESTYLE - by Esther Herrero

Being Your Brand

Branding and Strategy for Business and Life

Cruces, Sol y La Imaginación

Cuando la imaginación y la creatividad suman infinito

tranquicomix

fanzine bejarano de historietas hecho en los 80

A Stairway To Fashion

imagination is the key

Vinod833's Blog

This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

Apasionada de las Redes Sociales

Compartir conocimientos 2.0 y Marketing Online

Zona de Promesas

Blog de Tecnología en Español - Internet - Redes Sociales - Entrepreneurship - Innovación

Top Master | Blog

LOS PROGRAMAS DE MBA Y POSTGRADO MAS INFLUYENTES DE TODO EL MUNDO

Unencumbered by Facts

Taking unsubstantiation to new levels

PsicoEmocions Blog

Un Pont entre la Psique i les Emocions

TEA PTLS NACHO

AUTISMO.TEA..PTLS

Comunicación & Marketing

De Lilian Lanzieri

Xtratexia

Dirección estratégica para la vida

StellarHIRE Partners

Founding Partner, StellarHire Partners - Executive Search Consultants. Recent engagements include Eloqua, SFDC, Tibco and Veeam.

ivanbrunpr's Blog

4 out of 5 dentists recommend this WordPress.com site

BLOGTEC

Noticias de Tecnologia.

T a l e n t o  en  E x p a n s i ó n

Gestión de personas y transformación digital para las organizaciones líderes de la Era del Conocimiento

Two Leaves Tea SPAIN

Great Organic Tea! ✫✫✫✫✫ Te Organico en Piramides

Ideas para la clase

Experiencias creativas en la clase de español.

Little Grey Box

Travel Well

No solo los 80's

La mejor música de la historia

Molly Balloon's Blog

Identity + Dressing + Colour

El OJO PUBLICO. / Глаз общественности

Ver para contar & contar para ver. / Чтобы рассказать

Think Creative Idea Growth Hacking

Expertos en estrategia y auditoria de marketing

The Coaching Alliance

El camino hacia el éxito

Erick Lovera

Mi Pasión en un Blog

Estampas de México.

“Un fotógrafo tiene que ser auténtico y en su obra, debe expresar emociones, provocar reacciones y despertar pasiones.” ~ Javier García-Moreno E.

Natalia Gómez del Pozuelo

Escritora y formadora en comunicación

aloyn

Alimentación, ocio y negocios, ALOYN, es un Grupo dirigido a Directivos y Propietarios de empresas, interesados en el mundo de la industria de alimentación y bebidas. Tanto por la parte de la industria productora como por la parte de la industria consumidora y/o distribuidora (Distribución Comercial, Horeca, Vending, Venta Directa, etc). También nos interesan las actividades ligadas al agroturismo y el enoturismo como magníficas actividades de promoción y difusión de la cultura gastronómica.

Blog de Jack Moreno

Un blog de Joaquín Moreno sobre recursos, literatura y ciencia ficción

Mashamour

Ensalada de Manjares

be.blog

be. Intelligent Multimedia Education

~~Mente en Gravedad~~

************************************************************************************************************

The Xtyle

Fashion Blog - Un Blog de Moda y Tendencias by Bárbara Sanz Esteban

aníbal goicochea

Tecnologías de la Información y Estrategia

A Waterfall of Sound

"Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words." Robert Frost

Health & Family

A healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit

Style & Design

Fashion Trends and News

U.S.

News, Headlines, Stories, Video from Around the Nation

NewsFeed

Breaking news and updates from Time.com. News pictures, video, Twitter trends.

A %d blogueros les gusta esto: