Recently I’ve been doing a lot of research into how the media covers mobile technology and who their target demographic is for these stories. We’ve found some interesting things – mainly that the mainstream or “consumer” media is covering things like smartphones and tablets a lot more often than they were three or four years ago. An analytical look at the media landscape shows that bloggers and reporters have drastically shifted in their coverage of mobile computing issues. Mobility is no longer the territory of technical publications and outlets only, but rather a combination of enthusiast, consumer, business and technology media. These handy little gadgets have become the center of stories on everything from fitness to fashion to sex.
The broader media coverage of mobile computing isn’t surprising – while not ubiquitous yet, a lot of people in the Western World own a smartphone. In the U.S., about 46 percent of all adults own a smart phone, in Europe it’s about the same (numbers vary depending on specific studies). We work, chat, play games, read, watch TV and even shop on these little devices. In television and movies the smart phone has surfaced as a major plot device and sometimes even a character (think Gossip Girl or Iron Man). In real life, these devices have been the source of scandal – from lost iPhone prototypes to hacked celebrity phones to the fall of News Corp. All in all – these devices have moved more and more towards the center of our lives, so it figures that journalist who write “people-focused” stories are including mobile devices more and more frequently in their articles.
What do we love to do on our smart phones? Based on some original research conducted by the Racepoint Group, the most popular activity on mobile phones was texting or messaging, with 78 percent of respondents indicating that was their primary activity on the device. Texting/messaging was followed by emailing (58 percent), social networking (49percent), making or receiving calls (43 percent) and Web browsing (42 percent).
What frustrates us about our mobile devices? According to research by Pew, slow download speeds outpace small screens and tricky text entry as common irritants. More than one-third of smart phone owners (36 percent) are frustrated at slow download speeds on their phones. By contrast, two percent say that they had trouble reading something on their phone over the same time period and just 12 percent experienced difficulty entering large quantities of text on their phone.
Happy texting folks!