Smartphones: Essential Device or Expensive Gadget?
About a third of American adults own a smartphone, according to a recent Pew study. Are you already dependent on your smartphone or have you resisted because of the high bill or lack of interest?
You see smartphones everywhere. Whether it’s an iPhone, Blackberry, Android or Windows phone, these devices bring the power of pocketable computing to your hands. Some use smartphones to keep connected for work and others connect to friends through social media.
With access to the Internet either through a browser or through a multitude of apps, smartphone users can do everything from finding a restaurant to streaming videos.
The Pew Internet and American Life Project just released a study that looked at who was using smartphones. Approximately 35 percent of American adults surveyed said they owned a smartphone.
Smartphone users tended to be younger, wealthier, better educated than other Americans and blacks and Hispanics are more likely to be smartphone users than whites. The survey said 35 percent of those questioned use the Android. The rest of the smartphones that those surveyed use are:
- iPhone, 24 percent
- Blackberry, 24 percent
- Palm, 6 percent
- Windows-based, 4 percent
They asked respondents who had smartphones to provide words that described their feelings about the devices. The graphic used with this article includes the responses. Note the use of "great," "convenient," "good," "excellent," "necessary" and even "awesome." Some responses were negative, with "expensive," "frustrated" and even "hate" making the list.
In Northern Virginia, many of us carry smartphones because they are required for our jobs, which might make us resent having to be available even when away from the office. Some users may feel that a smartphone is a necessary evil because of the demands of juggling busy lives. These same phones can be handy when you need to look something up for practical reasons, such as directions. You can play games such as Angry Birds or Bejeweled to help settle while waiting in a doctor's office. Each of these uses can make us think of our smartphones in a positive or negative light.
I'm sure there are many people who would like a smartphone, but cannot afford or justify the high cost of data plans. All of the major carriers require data plans on the smartphones they sell and data plans can run anywhere from $25 to $100 a month per phone. The phones can cost more than $200 when combined with two-year contracts.
How do you feel about your smartphone? If you don’t have one, why? Parents, how do you decide if your teenagers are ready for the responsibility?