I luv eml!: How you use your phones

Noah Kravitz
 from  Oakland, CA
| September 15, 2009

(Photo via Pocketrec.com)


Two weeks ago I got a little nutty with the polls, asking you over the course of the week how you use your mobile phones. Do you Email and listen to music on them? Browse the Web and use GPS apps? Take photos? Has your phone replaced your standalone devices for any of these activities?

While PhoneDog polls never really die, the results are "in" enough to take a look at how you actually use your mobile phones. Click on over to the polls page for detailed results, or to cast your votes if you haven't already. Meantime, here's what I found out:

You love your mobile Email and Web

  • 54% of voters said, "my phone is my always-with me Email companion."
  • Only 18% rarely if ever use their phones for email and/or don't have or won't pay for the capability.
  • 35% of voters browse the Web on your phones "regularly."
  • A whopping 71% browse on their phones "as much as their computer," "regularly," or "sometimes," while only 9% said browsing on their phone is "painful."

Makes sense to me - Email on the go helps us stay connected and Web on the go is our gateway to everything from the latest sports scores to GPS-free directions to help us get around unfamiliar places.

Just over a third of you use your phones as your primary music and navigation gadgets, while a similar percentage use their cameraphones a lot, but not in place of a standalone camera:

  • 41% of voters said their phone is their "primary and/or only digital music player."
  • 41% said their "phone has GPS apps and it's my only navigation device"
  • 15%, on the other hand, don't use their phone for music or didn't know they could.
  • 19% don't use their phone for GPS apps because navigation on their devices is terrible and/or they don't know what GPS and LBS are.


Music and GPS are universal and relatively easy to implement, so lots of us use these features on our phones even if they're not quite as good as the experiences afforded on standalone units. The adoption of 3.5mm headphone jacks and internal flash memory as standard items on more and more music phones is still countered by battery life concerns in getting more power users to ditch their mp3 players in favor of one device for calls and tunes. Phone-based GPS, meanwhile, works well for finding points of interest and directions while on foot, but many cell phone displays simply aren't large enough to take the place of in-car navigation units for most people.

  • 37% of voters said they "use my phone's camera a lot. But it hasn't replaced my real camera."
  • 15% Don't use their phone as a camera or didn't know they could.

So what does this all mean? Well, ours is far from a scientific survey, but I'd say if less than half of the people who voted on a cell phone blog's survey have abandoned their mp3 players, cameras, or nav devices, the cell phone industry has plenty of work to do if they want every last penny of your gadget budget.

Battery life, storage space, screen size, and ease-of-use issues can all contribute to users not wanting - or being able - to use every single feature packed into their mobile phones. But what say you? Do you use each and every one of your phone's capabilities? If not, why not? Sound off!