The United Kingdom's desire for smartphones has been found by OfCom, the media regulator, to be greatly influenced by social networks. Nearly half of teenagers and more than a quarter of adults now own a smartphone; 60% of teenagers described themselves as "highly addicted" to their phone.
The rise in consumption of smartphones so far this year has been driven mainly by teenagers; 47% even admitted to using their phones in the toilet. A new survey also suggests that teens are more likely to use their phone while having dinner or in the cinema. If a call woke them, even more say they would answer.
New research, by GfK Retail and Technology UK, shows that this year- for the first time- sales of smartphones are higher than those of non-smartphones. Just over half of the total 13.6 million mobile sales in the past six months were smartphones.
James Thickett, Ofcom's director of research, said; "Ofcom's report shows the influence that communications technology now has on our daily lives, and on the way we behave and communicate with each other," and added; "Our research into the use of smartphones, in particular, reveals how quickly people become reliant on new technology – to the point of feeling addicted. As more and more people acquire smartphones, they are becoming an essential tool in peoples' social lives whether they are out with friends socialising or using Facebook on the move."
Both iPhones and Blackberry phones were seen to be used greatly for social media purposes and while the Android OS is just as capable, it seems its users are less drawn to their phone's social functions.
While providers are presently keeping up with their users' social networking, at the current rate of expansion, great developments may be needed to allow them to cope with the demand for communication in the future.