25 percent use smartphones, not computers, for majority of Web surfing

Pew Internet Project

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By Suzanne Choney

As more of us gravitate to smartphones, we're relying on them for more of our Web surfing; 25 percent of Americans say they're now doing most of their Internet browsing on their phones instead of a computer, according to a new report from the Pew Internet Project.

A striking 87 percent of smartphone owners check the Internet or email on their phones, including 68 percent who do so generally every day, and 25 percent say they "mostly go online using their phone, rather than with a computer."

"While many of these individuals have other sources of online access at home, roughly one third of these 'cell mostly' Internet users lack a high-speed home broadband connection," said Pew in its report, "Smartphone adoption and usage."

Smartphone ownership continues to increase in the U.S.; a recent Nielsen survey showed that 55 percent of consumers who bought a new phone in the last three months got a smartphone over a more bare-bones feature phone, up from 34 percent a year ago.

Among Pew's findings, based on a national telephone survey of 2,277 adults done between April 26 and May 22:

  • 35 percent of adults own a smartphone of some kind. "The financially well-off, college graduates, those under the age of 45, and non-whites are especially likely to be smartphone owners."
  • 35 percent of smartphone owners have an Android phone, while iPhones and BlackBerrys are each owned by 24 percentof smartphone adopters.
  • Android phones "are especially prevalent among young adults and African-Americans, while iPhone and BlackBerry adopters skew towards those with relatively high levels of income and education."

A "word cloud" that Pew created, based on comments by smartphone owners, yielded these "feelings" about those phones: "awesome," "great," "convenient," "necessary," "useful," and "love." To a lesser degree, these words were also used: "frustrating," "expensive," "hate," "sucks" and the all-encompassing: "expletive."

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