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Just How Popular Is Mobile Tech?

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 by | Filed Under: Smartphones

I had a inquiry from a reader recently, “You write an awful lot about cell phones and tablets these days. I don’t have a mobile anything, I think it’s all just for the kids. How many grownups actually use these things?”

Good questions. Let’s break it down using some numbers from the Pew Research center from last fall.

How many people have cell phones? 90% of American adults own a cell phone. So you are definitely in the minority there.  Only 41% of U.S. homes still have a land line phone.  Smartphone owners are now the majority, too. A full 64% of American adults own a smartphone. The difference between a cell phone and a smartphone is that a smartphone is actually a pocket-sized computer able to run apps, connect you to the Internet and serve as camera. It just happens to also have an app that lets you make phone calls.

Smartphone Data Usage

Tablet owners aren’t quite in the majority yet, around 42% of adults own tablets such as an iPad, Android or Kindle Fire.  Although technically, a smartphone really is just a smaller tablet. A full 84% of American households own at least one PC. Also about 32% of Americans own an eReader, such as a Kindle Paperwhite, a device that is used specifically for reading eBooks.


Many people use their smartphone as their only computing device. About 7% of owners use their phones as the only way they access the Internet. Nearly half of users, 44%, say they sometimes sleep with their phone next to their bed because they don’t want to miss calls or messages.

Slightly more men that women have a cell phone (93% compared to 89%), but ownership is evenly spread across White, African-American and Hispanics, each with around a 90% rate of owning a cell phone.  While 98% of people 18-29 have a cell phone, a full 74% of those 65 and up have one as well.


Those with College education are slightly more likely to have a cell, but not much. The level stays around 90% no matter what your income or education level and it doesn’t seem to matter whether you live in the city, country or suburbs.

More than 80% of Americans send texts and 60% use their phones for internet access. So, to answer your question, mobile tech is pretty popular and judging by the number of questions we get, sometimes kind of confusing.

~ Cynthia

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5 Responses to “Just How Popular Is Mobile Tech?”

  1. Archie Beavers says:

    I use my cell phone for calls, using the web, looking at Facebook to see what my family is doing, comparison shopping. I am 62 and have a landline and laptop as well.

  2. John H Tull says:

    I am 89 years old. I use iPhone, iPad, and Kindle e-reader. I also use a Mac Mountain Lion desktop, and a dual-boot lap-top. I really enjoy your computer tips. I also will miss your Just for Grins newsletter, but I understand your need to drop it. I have saved many of your tech tips in Evernote, tips I feel might come in handy…some of them already have! Keep up the good work!

  3. Judy says:

    Everywhere I go I see people of all ages glued to their phones, talking, texting, playing games, whatever!
    When I go to my grandkid’s ball games I see the parents glued to their phones. They are glued to their phones as much as the young kids are!
    I have a simple cell phone and also a land line. I don’t use either very often. My simple cell phone has internet but I refuse to use it. I CAN get away from the internet for a brief moment! It is also my small way of opposing all this texting/internet addiction among people of all ages.
    The youth can’t even carry on a conversation looking people in the eye because they are so used to texting. Spelling? don’t even get me started!

  4. mikey says:

    I think nothing is more frustrating than that person who continually is holding up their cell phone for you to squint at the latest photo or video of their grandchild acting even sillier than they are. Or the cell phone user who suddenly thinks they are a subject expert because they looked up the conversation subject on the Internet on their cell phone.
    Maybe it is even more rude when they join you for lunch and then spent the entire time texting on the phone.
    I had to just laugh when I saw a woman walk into a bus sign while walking (head down) and texting!

  5. Bill B. says:

    I agree that cell phones are great…it’s all the people that are addicted to their phones that I think should get a life ! Texting makes no sense at all…… you can say what’s on your mind in less than half the time if you just open your mouth and speak. It’s called a phone. My cell phone gets used to make calls if I’m lost or if I want to let someone know when I’ll be home. Most of the time it is turned off and in my pocket. And people are way too distracted as it is without putting a phone in their hands while they are driving. Wake up world!

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