Most smartphones are under-utilized

Most smartphones are under-utilized
Nearly one out of every four cellphones in use is a smartphone. This increased penetration means that more users now have a ton of amazing features at their fingertips., Ironically though, not everybody with a smartphone is taking advantage of the applications available. From early 2009 to early 2010, average monthly data use by a smartphone owner has increased 230%  from 90MB to 298MB. Still, smartphones as a group are not being utilized for data as much as they can be. According to the Nielsen company, 99% of users would fall within AT&T's top data plan without having to pay for overage and there are still others who bought their smartphone before the carriers started requiring a data plan, and use the phone for the most basic of features. Based on statistics compiled by Nielsen, 25% of smartphone users do not use data at all. On the other hand, the top 6% of users are consuming 50% of all smartphone data which leads the ratings firm to conclude that usage based pricing would be fair. Another conclusion by Nielsen is that with a quarter of smartphone owners not taking advantage of the phone in their hand, more education is needed to teach people how to use all of the features on their handset. In the report, the company notes that these people have purchased a device that has more computing power than what was used to send men to the moon, and yet they only use the phone to make calls and send text messages. The report was compiled by studying 60,000 mobile phone bills monthly.

source: TheNielsenCompany via NYTimes



23. lordchu

Posts: 2; Member since: Jul 13, 2010

It would seem everyone posting here uses a smartphone for more than just phone calls. What if we help educate others by listing one thing we use a a smartphone for beyond calls? I'll start with non-connectivity related functions and say: Taking notes for future reference, whether a phone number, or a note while ona call, or some weblink I want to check out later.

25. ilia1986 unregistered

Umm.. sorry to cut you there lord, but an old nokia 3120 could do that as well.. and that was certainly not a smartphone. Your suggestion is, however, very good and relevant. I think that the best way to educate people on the actual usage of smartphones - would be to show them a place where one can download so many free (and paid) apps that it would take years just to see all of this content. Thats right. I'm talking about the Apple appstore and the Android market. It's like showing someone who was living under a rock his entire life - the glory of a huge modern shopping mall.

21. *HOVA*

Posts: 564; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

Kudos to an article with well thought, non-biased comments. I wish they all were like this.

14. wade1968

Posts: 224; Member since: Apr 12, 2010

I think if people went to using just the phones standard built in OS that they use most and turn off all the rest. their phones would last longer and cell providers systems would't not break down so much.

17. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

ATT breaks down because of network clogging on its data signal. The "amount" of phones that have data capabilities dont do this, just actual use. So the sad fact is that even with this data showing most people barely use their phones... ATT cant handle it. They'd probably collapse if everyone used their phone to its potential.

19. ilia1986 unregistered

Yeah.. but correct me if I'm wrong - if I live in the US, and order an Sim-unlocked iPhone from Europe - and then put inside a Verizon Sim card - it should work just fine. Unless Apple specifically blocked VZN on the iPhone. I mean - afaik both VZN and AT&T use the same type of network - the GSM. I'm just curious about this whole iPhone = AT&T stuff.

20. athiel021

Posts: 33; Member since: Aug 10, 2009

This would work...if Verizon was a GSM based company. As it is, it's a CDMA company, so no doesn't use SIM cards. Now someone could (and people *do* pretty frequently) use an unlocked iPhone on T-Mobile's network. Another point is that in America, CDMA offers much more coverage than GSM, hence why so many people are ticked that it's on AT&T's network.

22. ilia1986 unregistered

Oh... so the VZN is the CDMA carrier.. I thought it's actually the other way around. Well if the CDMA network is successful there, it definitely a good thing. Here in Israel we had a CDMA network several years ago - and it was horrible. Hopefully mass deployment of 4G network antennas is just around the corner..

26. wade1968

Posts: 224; Member since: Apr 12, 2010

cdma 1 tower, to do what 3 gsm towers do. newer isn't always better.


Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 2010

I will admit it. The iphone changed everything. It use to be untouchable, completely without a doubt. The closest thing to it was the voyager, instinct, and dare. None in which could even come close to the iphone. It was faster, had a larger screen, higher resolution, more features, far more responsible, and was the phone to have. Now today everything changed again. Iphone now has strong competitors like motorola droid x, htc evo, samsung galaxy s, and more. I do not disagree that without the iphone, we wouldn't have the phones we have today.

16. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

The sad fact is the iphone wasnt "untouchable" because of features.. in fact when it launched it was nothing more than a feature phone with a nice screen and smooth interface. It didnt do squat other than itunes and apps. It was untouchable because of the insaine izombies creating demand and proclaiming themselves the "it crowd" of cellphone owners. Like some guy told me when I worked at VZW during the iphone launch "everyone wants an iphone". Noone knew anything about it.. they just wanted it. It didnt do squat and it got alot of returns because it was billed as a smartphone without any smartphone features, but people bought it in droves with little thought.

11. xmguy1

Posts: 68; Member since: Nov 04, 2009

I use my Droid to play streaming radio and music. Along with calling and texting.

9. Schmao

Posts: 365; Member since: Jul 05, 2009

While i do agree that the iphone revolutionized smartphones, I believe that around this year, there would be capacitive touch screens. Things would continue to revolutionize, just slower.

15. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

if its slow, its evolution. yea sure, things would still be moving. Android would have never been created in responce to apple. MS would have no need to reimmage its system as it would still be the only real business phone with exchange support. Blackberry would have never tried a touch screen interface which while shakey the first time around, is turning into OS6(they said they never would until iphone became popular). Palm would probably still look about the same.. if not dead finally. HTC would still be a crappy niche Windows phone maker.

18. ilia1986 unregistered

You see - Apple has done only good to the industry as a whole.

1. ilia1986 unregistered

Now whether you love it or hate it - you just have to wonder what would the smartphone world look like today - if not the iPhone in 2007... Smartphones would have probably continued to be used mostly by the business category of consumers, and they would either continue to use WM, or RIM, and any touch-screens - if at all - would be resistive ones. *shudder* I'm glad this is not the reality now.. Btw I think that this research\study is incomplete, as it is unknown which devices and\or platforms were tested. I am unable to imagine any rational human being in possession of either an iPhone or an Android phone and not using at least 50% of the phone's full capability.

2. NOVAinc

Posts: 99; Member since: Jun 24, 2010

well, you said the magical word... "rational" I know so many people that get Droids or android phones because of the "droid does" douche ads, and many people who get iPhones just because of the trends. So far, the Droid is the most popular Android phone out there and still one of the weakest android devices, more than the 50% is owning a droid. But normally, rational people who get to have an iPhone/Android device with deep consideration prior to the acquisition is able to use it much more efficiently. Good for them! Nice to see people that have something to say, giving respectfully and rational opinions.

3. cc16177

Posts: 312; Member since: May 09, 2010

I agree with everything you said except for the last comment, I see people every day (admittedly most with iPhones) who use their phones for nothing other than phone calls/texting. I actually JUST had a customer in my store with the iPhone4 and when I asked him if he had noticed the antenna issue he said no. When I used his phone and showed him that when holding the phone a certain way I was unable to get a data signal (I did not try making a phone call) he replied "Oh, I never use the internet on that thing." Do I know why? No. But I would DEFINITELY agree that a lot of people with "smartphones" do not use them for anything more than just phone calls, texting, and maybe email. Oh, and of course the lovely Facebook app.

4. ilia1986 unregistered

Well then, the obvious question is - why do these people bother with smartphones anyway? They are usually much more expensive than regular simple phones. Often 10 times more expensive. HTC desire costs about 2700 NIS in Israel, while a Nokia 1208 costs about 270.. Why would people spend hundreds of dollars on something that they won't use other than it's most basic features? I know people are affected by ads, and etc etc, but this is too much. On of the basic rules of economics, upon which all theories are made, is that all customers are rational. But it doesn't worry me in the slightest. At the beginning of PCs, people were mostly using them to print documents, even though they were at the time capable of much much more. People will learn. As technology progresses - the consumers adapt.

5. matt512

Posts: 3; Member since: Jul 12, 2010

I use my smartphone all the time but, I usually am around a good wifi connection. That won't show any data usage so I think this study is at least a little bit skewed.

6. matt512

Posts: 3; Member since: Jul 12, 2010

I think that the hardware is generally better on more expensive smartphones. If someone was shooting off 500 text messages a day, they might be willing to pay the extra for a good keyboard whether touchscreen or qwerty. Iv'e seen some pretty crappy feature phone hardware.

7. pete7625

Posts: 86; Member since: Jul 01, 2010

I agree with you, smart-phones are better quality, which is why many people prefer to use that over other phones, even if it's just for texting and making calls. I love how easy it is to text message on my blackberry curve, I almost threw my brother's sidekick out the widow because how terrible it was, lol.

8. ilia1986 unregistered

Yes, but like Steve said - touch-screens were meant to be used on phones with apps. Because no set amount of buttons would be ideal for each application. I will even claim the following - smartphones without touch-screens are not as comfortable to use for anything other then calls\sms\e-mail as smartphones with touch-screens. So if by a smartphone one takes such examples as Nokia E71, or BB, or WM non-HD2 devices - then yeah. I wouldn't use these for anything else than mail\calls\sms myself. Heck, I myself have a Nokia 5800, which is a smartphone, but I don't use it for anything but calls, SMS a Facebook app, and an occasional game. That is because many such devices are simply not comfortable to use. So to conclude - if people buy smartphones and are unwilling to learn how to use their full capacity - despite the fact that using said devices for every possible task is an overall pleasurable and comfortable experience - then they are irrational. If however, said people buy smartphones, and like me - are unwilling to use them for anything other than basic functions, because the experience of using them is unpleasant (in my case - huge pain in the ass) - then it is acceptable for them to continue using only the critical functions. Of course here comes the questions why didn't these people bought a smartphone which is uncomfortable to use - but I can say from very personal experience - that given enough advertising - and without the ability to actually test the device before buying it (at least in my country) it is an entirely understandable mistake.

10. fishpower187

Posts: 88; Member since: Feb 22, 2010

=1 @ilia. I am not a huge iphone fan, but I wholeheartedly agree with you. Working in the wireless industry since 2003, I'm well acquainted with the generation of smartphones prior to the iPhone's arrival, and its true, we would likely be in a state of ignorant mediocrity were it not for the iphone. its creation led to other manufacturers gettign off their butts and making high-powered stuff like the Droid series. Remember the smartphone lineup in mid-2007? Palm 700, Motorola Q, Q9, etc...the pickins were slim.

13. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

LOL. Yea. Its amazing what has changed in 3 years. Smartphones were pretty stagnant for years and they all basically did the same thing. While the iphone isnt anything near what the hype says it should be (especially back then), the one thing it did right was kick a stagnant industry right in the ass and get it moving again. 4 years ago it was business men and super tech geeks that had smart phones.. Now everyone and their children.. literally.. has one because of the change in competition. People want them because they are "cool" and they cost more. Its a sad fact that has been proven time and time again, that if it costs more, people want it more and will not get rid of it easily.... if they have a use for it or not.

24. Fanboys Suck

Posts: 609; Member since: Dec 12, 2008

Go Youtube the video "iPhone vs Evo" and you will have the answer to your question "why do these people bother with smartphones anyway?". Hella Funny, and true.

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