About 85 percent of Americans now own a cell phone, but most are using the gadgets for more than just making calls, according to a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
The majority of adult Americans turn to their cell phone to take a picture (82 percent), send or receive text messages (80 percent), access the Internet (56 percent), and send or receive email (50 percent).
Cell phone photography is the most popular activity, Pew said, though it hasn’t seen the same type of growth in the past five years as some other features. As of 2010, 76 percent of people used their phone to snap pictures, a 6 percent increase in the last two years, while texting has continuously grown from 58 percent in 2007 to 80 percent now.
Texting reaches large numbers of people in almost all demographic groups, with the exception of users 65 years and older. The Pew study pointed out that the activity is nearly universal among young adults ages 18 to 29.
Cell phones are put to work for more than simple tasks, though, as more than half of users access the Interwebs via their phone — especially among well-educated people under 50 living in a household with an annual income of more than $50,000, according to Pew. About 56 percent of all cell phone owners have accessed the Web on their phones, up from 25 percent three years ago. African-American and Hispanic owners are more likely than whites to surf the Internet on their phone, Pew found.
Meanwhile, recording video is on the rise, as is downloading apps — an activity that has been booming since 2011. Looking up health information or checking bank accounts on mobile phones are also popular, but have not reached far past the 30 percent mark among users.
Pew’s study is based on a Summer Tracking Survey of more than 2,580 adults 18 and older, contacted between Aug. 7 and Sept. 6, as well as March to April numbers.
By Stephanie Mlot, PCMag