updated 01:55 pm EST, Tue November 15, 2011
Cellphone study polls 4,500 users in 9 countries
A new study performed by Survey Sampling made the unusual claim that 95 percent of the people around the world owned a cellphone. The survey spanned nine countries, but only about 4,500 consumers who answered questions online. From this sampling group, 42 percent owned smartphones, with the rest of them planning to buy a smartphone next.
Hong Kong topped the percentage of cellphone owners, at 99 percent, while China and Sweden were tied for a close second, at 98 percent. The US, at 89 percent, was the lowest-ranking country. China was also number one with smartphone ownership rates, at 68 percent, with Hong Kong at 57 and Sweden (33) and Japan (16) at the bottom of the ladder.
As for what they'd like to have next, about a third of respondents said they would prefer an Apple iPhone if money wasn't a factor. Other brands were considerably more distant, with Samsung at 12 percent, Nokia at 10, Sony Ericsson at eight, and RIM's BlackBerry at seven percent.
The study also looked at usage patterns of the features of their handsets. Clocks are the most commonly used one, at 43 percent using them almost all the time and 40 percent using them very often. Text messages are sent by 37 percent of respondents almost all the time, while 41 percent say they use it very often. Internet is accessed all the time by 27 percent of users and very often by 31 percent. At the other end of the spectrum, video cameras and integrated radios are used all the time by only seven percent. Reasons for these low numbers include having no use for such functionality, never getting around to it or using a different device for the job.
Frustrations include poor battery life, with 37 percent rating it extremely frustrating. About 25 percent find web sites not optimized for mobile devices extremely frustrating, while 19 percent were very frustrated by unexpected changes in screen orientation and virtual keyboards that are too small for their fingers.
The study was performed in the US, UK, Germany, France, Japan, Australia, China, Hong Kong, and Sweden, and immediately called into question the methodology. It conspicuously excluded Africa, large parts of Asia, and Latin America, areas where residents are considerably less likely to afford a cellphone of any kind, let alone to consider a smartphone. The research instead suggests that those in first-world countries have reached near saturation.