It’s hard to believe that we’ve had so much evolution in mobile phones, but we still encounter the same problems with more or less the same frequency that we did in the early ‘90s. Remember those phones? I thought we were entering a new era of high tech wonder in 1997 when people started carrying around those big gray Motorola flip phones that were about the size of my grandmother’s Bible.
But despite the massive leaps we’ve seen in the evolution of mobile phones just in the last 15 years (not including the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x, which came out in 1983 and was about the size of a baguette), most people experience dropped calls, receive unwanted sales and marketing calls, and get spam texts. A new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project reveals that a large chunk of cell phone owners experience these problems on a fairly regular basis.
Could you imagine buying any other product if you were told it would crap out on you once or twice a week and become a conduit for a bunch of obnoxious sales and marketing reps to hassle you in your own home? Would you buy a vacuum cleaner that came with a warning like that? As it turns out, many people deal with this regularly, with 72% of cell phone owners saying they’ve experienced dropped calls at least occasionally, and 68% of cell phone owners saying they’ve received unwanted sales and marketing calls at one time or another.
More than 30% of cell phone owners say they experience dropped calls at least a few times a week, and 25% of cell phone owners say they receive unwanted sales and marketing calls at least a few times a week.
Nevertheless, the rate of cell phone-only households in the U.S.—households that don’t have a landline at all—continues to grow. Some 34% of U.S. households are wireless-only homes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s up from 13.6% in 2007. Among adults ages 25-29, that figure nearly doubles to 59.6%.
"The big change that mobile connectivity has brought to users is the instant availability of people and data,” noted Jan Lauren Boyles, a Pew Internet Project researcher who authored this report. “As mobile owners become fond of just-in-time access to others and as their expectations about getting real-time information rise, they depend on the cell phone's technical reliability. Any problems that snag, stall, or stop users from connecting to the material and people they seek is at least a hassle to them and sometimes is even more disturbing than that in this networked world."
Some other interesting stats from the report: of the 79% of cell phone owners who say they text on their phone, 69% of them say they receive spam texts. Of those, 25% say they receive spam texts weekly.
Additionally, of the 55% of cell phone owners who say they use their phones to go online, a full 77% say they experience slow download speeds.
Image source: dailymail.co.uk