Technology

Third of adults 'use smartphone' says Ofcom report

  • 4 August 2011
  • From the section Technology
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Facebook on iPhone
More smartphone time is spent on Facebook than any other service according to Ofcom

Nearly one in three adults in the UK now uses a smartphone, according to a report by the telecoms regulator Ofcom.

Apple's iPhone was said to be the most popular brand. However, teenagers appeared to favour RIM's Blackberry devices.

The report notes that the increased uptake of smartphones has led to a dramatic rise in mobile internet use.

Facebook was the most visited website on handheld devices, with 43 million hours spent on it in December 2010.

Ofcom's annual Communications Market Report combines the regulator's own research with work carried out by other industry analysts.

The 341-page document provides a comprehensive snapshot of the UK's TV, radio, internet and telecommunications consumption.

On mobiles, it said that 58% of smartphone owners were male and 42% female.

Among those teenagers (12-15 year-olds) surveyed, the trend was reversed with girls accounting for 52% of smartphone use and boys making up the remaining 48%.

Although Apple's iPhone was a favourite device for 32% of adults, among teens its popularity was dwarfed by the Blackberry, which 37% of young people identified as their preferred brand.

Many of those taking part in Ofcom's survey confessed to being obsessed with their smartphone. 37% of adults and 60% of teenagers described themselves as "addicted".

Trending online

Ofcom's study also looked at how people use the internet via home fixed line connections.

Its analysis was based on a survey of 2,481 adults who have access to broadband.

Among those who took part, the most popular task was sending and receiving email (89%).

More people turned to their computer to do online banking (61%) than used it to watch television (45%).

Online privacy was a concern for the minority of people surveyed, with worries appearing to grow as people got older.

Among 16 to 24-year-olds, 6% said they had concerns about their privacy on the internet. That figure rose to 13% of 55 to 64-year-olds.

Winners and losers

The report also examines the type of websites or online services that people are spending their time on, based on research carried out by UKOM/Neilsen.

The biggest growth area, between April 2010 and April 2011, was games, which increased by 23%.

News websites took a 33% dive on the previous year, as did adult sites whose use fell by 13%.

Away from the internet, there were also noteworthy changes around the use of broadcasting technology.

UK radio fared well, racking-up more than one billion listening hours per week

Time-shifted TV viewing, using digital video recorders, made up 14% of all viewing time in 2010, 1% lower than the previous year.

Sales of 3D capable televisions appeared to be relatively sluggish, with 125,000 sets sold in 2010, compared to 1 million internet-enabled TVs.

Radio fared well, according to Ofcom, as total listener hours hit 1.04bn per week, up 2.1% on 2009.

By the beginning of 2011, a quarter of radio listening was done on a digital platform, said the regulator.

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