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NPD: People Are Using Their Smartphones More

Posted by: Olga Kharif on November 11, 2008

Consultancy NPD came out with a new survey today that shows that consumers are spending more time using their portable electronic devices, such as PlayStation Portable, the iPod and the iPhone.

The largest jump in usage relates to smartphones. About 46% of smartphone owners claim they are using these devices more than only three months ago. NPD tracked feature use and awareness, frequency of purchases and downloads, as well as the amount of money spent by some 3,258 people it regularly surveys online.

What’s behind this increase in usage? Personally, I blame the Apple App Store, which made it easy for people to discover new tools that deliver news, games and videos right to the cell phone. Many iPhone users have already downloaded 20, 30 applications each. While, in the past, most smartphone owners mostly used these devices for phone calls, e-mail and messaging, Apple’s App Store, as well as application marketplaces from Google and other providers, have provided users with yet another reason to spend more time with their gadgets — on the go and at home.

That increased usage could potentially impact the cell-phone replacement cycle. Today, consumers buy a new cell phone every 16 months, on average. But if more heavily used, perhaps the phones won’t last as long, and may need to be replaced more frequently. That would be a boon for Nokia, Motorola, and, yes, Apple.

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Reader Comments


November 23, 2008 03:16 PM

I suspect a different outcome:

> if more heavily used,
> perhaps the phones won’t
> last as long, and may need to
> be replaced more frequently

Wouldn't software enhancement lead to *longer* device lifetimes? Since smartphones are platforms that can be upgraded and enhanced over time, the user is not forced to buy a new device just to get a new feature. Do you replace your computer every 16 months?

I'm all for smarter devices and 3rd-party apps, and see the App Store as the start of a new wave, following the mobile operators' unsuccessful "Walled Garden" approach to limiting Internet access.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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