Internet access tops the list of functions smartphone users could not live without, cited by 20.8% of respondents to a Prosper Mobile Insights survey [download page] released in February 2012. In fact, smartphone users said that internet access was more indispensable than calling (19.9%) and texting (18.2%). After those three leading functions, there was a large dropoff to the next most indispensable functions, email (8.2%), GPS/maps (5.5%), Facebook (3.1%), and apps (general – 2.7%). 1.3% of respondents said that games, Google, and music were their single most important smartphone functions.
Texting remains the most common activity among mobile users overall: data from comScore indicates that during the three-month average ending December 2011, 74.3% US mobile subscribers sent texts, compared to 47.5% who used browsers.
When asked what they do after losing service on their mobile device, 54.4% of respondents to the Prosper survey said they access the internet from a different device, such as a laptop, while 46.4% pick up a landline phone to make a call. Other popular activities included contacting the service provider to talk to customer service (39.1%), watching TV instead (34.4%), reading a book instead (24.5%), and talking to other people in the room (23.9%). 12.3% said they turn to social media to post comments expressing their frustration.
Indeed, device users appear to get quite frustrated by a loss of service: 58% said that they get somewhat (38.8%) or extremely (19.2%) stressed when their smartphone or tablet loses service, compared to just 21.9% who aren’t ruffled by the situation.
Meanwhile, smartphone and tablet users are highly concerned about the government passing a censorship law that would block access to websites they visit or apps they use on their devices. 7 in 10 reported being either very (41.4%) or somewhat (28.9%) concerned about this occurrence, with 38.2% overall saying the censorship law would have a negative effect on them personally. Device owners would prefer to be responsible for choosing what material they find offensive on their devices: roughly two-thirds said this decision should be left up to them, compared to just 10% who believed this to be a federal government responsibility.
The January 18th anti-SOPA/PIPA movement certainly engendered a heavy response: Google said more than 7 million users signed its petition opposing the bills, while its petition page was +1?d more than 130,000 times. And Twitter announced that its users sent about 3.9 million SOPA-related tweets that day.
Data from the Prosper survey indicates that in terms of content that device users feel should be censored, racial slurs in print (58.8%) leads all categories, appearing to be more offensive than racial slurs in music/videos (51.1%). Similarly, a greater proportion cite foul language in print as being worthy of censorship than foul language in music/video (44.6% vs. 39.2%).
Other types of content a significant amount of users feel should be censored include nudity (51.5%), pirated content (48.4%), and violent images (43.6%). Self-censorship is not widespread when it comes to pirated content, though: 22.5% at least occasionally view or download the content, compared to 42% who never do. Interestingly, 35.6% say they cannot distinguish between legal and pirated content.
About the Data: The Prosper Mobile Insights survey was conducted from January 31 – February 2, 2012, among 343 smartphone and tablet users on their devices. 53.4% of the respondents were male, and the average age was 43.1.
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