Your phone isn’t just a phone anymore

Smartphones do everything

According to O2’s(UK based telecommunications company), recently released report about smartphone usagesmartphones are being used in ways that are remarkably different from the way we used phones five years ago.

Smartphone users spend more time browsing the internet (25 minutes a day), social networking (17 minutes a day), playing games (14 minutes a day) and listening to music (16 minutes a day) than they do making calls (12 minutes).

We spend about 11 minutes a day on email, 10.2 minutes on text messaging and when you total it all up, we stare at our smartphones for a whopping 128 minutes i.e over 2 hours a day. Whoa! But wait there is more. The study shows that phone has also started to replace a range of other possessions:

  • Over half (54%) use their phones in place of an alarm clock
  • Almost half (46%) have dispensed with a watch in favor 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 favor of their handset (11%)
  • Perhaps indicative of where things are moving, one in twenty smartphone users have switched to using their phone in place of a TV (6%) or reading physical books (6%)

All the usage can easily be explained by the power of touch and simplicity of our smarpthones. When we touch that phone, we don’t just touch a device and its screen, we make it part of ourselves. That touch is what turns an inanimate object into an extension of ourselves. The touch-ability is what prompts people to use the phone again and again. And in the process, it transforms our relationship with it. So, the phone now plays a far greater role in all aspects of our lives. Our smartphones are becoming general purpose nodes of connectivity, data capture, storage, processing, retrieval and display – less like telephones than microcomputers with multiple radio links. Moreover, for most people there is less effort involved in using a smart phone than using a desktop or laptop.

With touch and the Internet, smartphones have started to treat voice calls and now SMS as what they really are – apps on the IP network. Just as we don’t use computers mainly to compute, we no longer use phones mainly to phone. The name represents the origin, not the overall use or purpose. And that is why all these non-phone call behaviors and uses make me wonder – isn’t it time to just stop calling these as smartphones. What do you think?

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