Daily Archives: May 14, 2010

Cellphones Now Used More for Data Than for Calls

Fascinating article in the NYT today about cell phone usage. Apparently they’re now used more for data than for actual phone calls. This calls into question their very name, no? I mean, they’re more used as other devices rather than as phones qua phones, so maybe we shouldn’t even call them phones anymore.

While we’re at it, I suppose I’m maybe even old fashioned, calling them cell phones, too, instead of mobile phones. They don’t necessarily even use cellular technology anymore. They’re digital now right? And cellular is an analog protocol? Maybe? I’m on shaky ground here, not really knowing what I’m talking about.

Let’s just go with mobile devices, now, instead of cell phones.

Although likely I’m this morning being influenced by the fact that the NYT article refers to them as cell phones throughout. Wait, not even as cell phones, but rather as cellphones. All one word. Must be in their style guide, which I’d generally trust. They really worry about these things.

More fun, though, was a quote from a telecom analyst, who says, apropos these devices being now more looked at rather than talked into, “Handset design has become far less cheek-friendly.” I like that: cheek-friendly.

Ominously, though, comes the prediction from the CEO of Sprint Nextel, expecting that soon we’ll be charged by amounts of data rather than voice minutes. I have enough trouble keeping track of minutes. How am I ever going to be able to track bytes?

And, lastly, there’s this astonishing statistic regarding American teenagers and texting. To wit:

American teenagers have been ahead of the curve for a while, turning their cellphones into texting machines; more than half of them send about 1,500 text messages each month, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.

I don’t know what the sampling here is, whether it’s half of all teenagers or only half with cellphones. Oh, probably the latter, now that I think about it. But, still, whatever, dude, that’s a shitload of texting going on.

So this made me wonder as to my own cellphone usage. I got a new phone last month, replacing a smart phone with a dumber one. It was like the old one, an HTC Touch, was a little mini computer that happened to be a phone. And making and receiving calls on it was a pain in the ass, frankly. And texting was an equal pain, given the touch screen instead of a separate keyboard. So my new Samsung Intensity has a slide-out physical keyboard, much easier to use. And a single button gets me immediately into a new text message. Love it.

Oh, and it gets much, much better reception. Oh, and it’s a lot easier to use with a Bluetooth headset.

As to usage, it’s got handy counters. In the 22 days I’ve had this new phone, I’ve dialed 28 phone calls and received 8, whereas I’ve sent 34 text messages and received 44. Apparently I text more than I talk, although it’s hard to factor in the land line I’ve still got at home, which takes care of some of the talking but none of the texting.

Anyway, an interesting article, I thought.