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52 percent of Americans use mobile for non-voice activities: Study

Pew Internet's study, "Wireless Internet Use," found that more than half of adult Americans use their mobile phones for a non-voice data activity on a typical day.

Of the 85 percent of adult Americans who own a mobile phone, 81 percent admitted to using their phone for something other than making a voice call at one time. Fifty-two percent said they used their mobile phone for a non-voice activity such as SMS, email, taking photos or playing a game on a regular basis.

"Sending text messages remains the mainstay activity for cell phone users," the study says. "They are more than twice as likely to send a text on the average day as do anything else.

"Snapping a photo on the cell phone comes in as the next most popular activity, trailed significantly by playing a game, emailing or access the Web for information," it says.

In December 2007 Pew's Internet Project found that 77 percent of mobile users said they had "ever" used their mobile phone for at least one non-voice data activity and 42 percent said they participated in at least one "yesterday."

The 77 percent of mobile users who had "ever" done a non-voice activity in 2007 jumped to 85 percent in 2009, an increase of 8 percent.

When looking at the results in the context of all American adults, 69 percent have used their mobile device for a non-voice data application, representing a growth of 16 percent from 2007 results.

The number of people who use a non-voice data application on a regular basis jumped from 32 percent in 2007 to 44 percent in 2009, a remarkable 36 percent jump over a 16 month period.

In 2007, the average number of activities participants engaged in on a typical day was 0.90, whereas in 2009 that number grew to 1.31. This is an increase of 46 percent among mobile phone users.

Text messaging, a favorite among the tech-savvy demographic of today, has gone up 40 percent since 2007.

Mobile email and accessing the Internet via mobile have both doubled during the 2007 to 2009 interval.

The study asked respondents how they get online when away from home or the office.

Fifty-six percent reported going online wirelessly via mobile, excluding other non-voice activities such as taking photos, texting or recording video.

Add all non-voice data activities into the equation and 74 percent of adult Americans have used the mobile Internet or used another non-voice data application on their mobile phones.

The study also found that African-Americans use the mobile Internet more than any other demographic segment.

"The increase for handheld activities done ?yesterday' or on the ?typical day' is broad-based, but particularly strong for communication and information-seeking functions," the study says.