Mobile Device Use, Activities, & Apps

We all know that the use of mobile devices is increasing but what isn't as clear is how much and what sorts of things people are doing on mobile devices. As I often do, I decided to turn to my social network and I asked my followers "what percent of your daily use of technology would you say is on mobile devices versus non-mobile?" The results were rather interesting. The mean for mobile use was 41.4 percent. That would suggest that we're approaching using mobile devices for nearly half of all our use of technology. I did notice that the range of percentages was also rather high so I checked the median which was 35 percent. That finding reinforced my suspicion that a subset of people use mobile almost exclusively.

Given the significant proportion of our technology use that is mobile, I wanted to next find out what people are doing with their devices, particularly work-related use. I then asked "what are the top three work-related things that you do on your smartphone and/or tablet?" The results are shown in the Wordle on the right with the font size indicating greater prevalence of the activity. The most frequent work-related activities carried out on mobile devices include doing email, accessing social-media services, working with the calendar, and using a web browser. The prevalence of social-media as a work-related activity may appear to some as surprising. It must be realized however that I surveyed people via social-media services so the sample may be biased in that regard but nonetheless it is also likely the case that these services are increasingly being used for work-related purposes.   

Lastly, I wanted to get a sense of what apps people use on their mobile devices and would recommend to others. In this case, I didn't restrict the question to work-related use but instead left it open to all apps. I asked "what are your favorite apps on your mobile devices that you would recommend to others?" The results are again shown using a Wordle on the right. The first observation that is immediately obvious from looking at the Wordle is the sheer diversity of apps with only a few standing out as used and recommended by many people. This perhaps shouldn't be surprising given the vast number of apps in the various app stores. It is interesting too that the most popular apps included Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pulse, Flipboard, and Google Maps. Respondents likely use the built-in apps for email, calendar, etc. so didn't report those. The vast majority of the apps they did mention are essentially apps for accessing social-media services and information aggregating services.

I didn't differentiate here between smartphone and tablet mobile devices. It may well be the case that the majority of these results are based on smartphone use predominantly and that additional types of use and types of apps would be found if we looked specifically at tablets. I plan to examine the use of tablets in a future blog post.