Smartphone Users Say Web Access More Indispendable Than Texting

February 20, 2012

prosper-smartphone-indispensable-features.jpgInternet 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.

Upon Losing Service, Users Turn to Laptop

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.

Concerns Abound on Censorship Laws

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.

Print Content More Offensive Than Vide

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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