A new study has found that fully one-fifth of U.S. mobile-phone users “prefer to use their phones as an all-in-one multimedia device for music, videos, Web surfing, and other activities beyond making phone calls.” The release about the study by NPD Group prefaces the 20 percent figure with “only,” but if those 20 percent really do want to use it for all those activities, that figure is quite high. People who regard their phones primarily as phones might use one or two content or service features, but folks who see the phones as an all-in-one multimedia device are apt to use far more.
More after the jump…
In addition, the survey found that 45 percent of U.S. mobile-phone users prefer to make calls on their mobile phones rather than use available multimedia features. I hate to be a spruiker, but turning that around, more than half the people surveyed use multimedia features on their phones (although how often they use the features isn’t detailed). The report also had some figures on the percentage of people who know about the features on their phone compared to the number of phones shipped with those features: “Just 34 percent of mobile phone users know that their current phone’s memory can be expanded, 28 percent know that they can watch videos, and 12 percent know they can access the Internet via Wi-Fi. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) were not sure if their phone included GPS, while a similar number (21 percent) were not sure if their handsets would play music” compared to “71 percent of all handsets purchased by consumers in the U.S. (that) were capable of playing video, 60 percent (that) had expandable memory, and 55 percent (that) had GPS technology.”
Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis for NPD, pointed out that people who use the extra features create higher revenue for carriers, and that “carriers and other handset retailers have an opportunity to educate customers as to the capabilities of their handsets in the wake of slower overall handset sales.” That’s true, but I’m guessing that those 21 percent who don’t know whether their handset can play music (for example) are simply not interested in the feature, and therefore unlikely to use their phone to play music even if shown how to do so.