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More than half of US adults now own smartphones 

Hands on iPhone
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More than half — 56 percent — of American adults now have smartphones, up from 35 percent two years ago.

The findings from the Pew Internet & American Life Project mesh with other recent research which shows that for the first time worldwide, there are more smartphones being shipped than feature phones.

Nine out of 10 Americans now have a cellphone of some kind, smart or not, Pew says. Two years ago, 17 percent of Americans did not have a cellphone; now it's down to 9 percent.

Aaron W. Smith, Pew senior researcher, told NBC News when non-cellphone owners were asked last year in another Pew survey about cellphones, "the biggest group of non cell-owners" said "that they just don't need a cellphone or are happy with their landline," and 1 in 5 said that cellphones are "too expensive."

For its "Smartphone Ownership — 2013 Update" report, 2,252 adults ages 18 and older were surveyed between April 17 and May 19. Among other findings:

  • Smartphone ownership is "particularly high among younger adults," Pew found, especially those in their 20s and 30s, something that has been the case since it started measuring smartphone adoption two years ago.
  • Meanwhile, a majority of Americans in their mid-40s through their mid-50s "are now smartphone adopters," as are those with "relatively high levels of household income and educational attainment."
  • The only demographic group to not gravitate to smartphones as readily are Americans ages 65 and older, Pew said; 18 percent in that group say they own a smartphone now, compared to 13 percent in February 2012.

"That's definitely indicative of the way in which smartphones have become an essential utility for younger adults — all across the income spectrum — in a way that they currently are not for older adults," Smith said.

As expected, Android phones and the iPhone dominate phone ownership. Android owners are 28 percent of all cellphone users, Pew said, up from 15 percent in May 2011.

Apple's iPhone owners are 25 percent of the cellphone population, up from 10 percent in May 2011.

BlackBerry users account for 4 percent of the entire cellphone population, down from 10 percent in May 2011. Windows phone users now represent 1 percent, Pew said.

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