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Text Messaging Remains Most Important Feature for Cell Phone Buyers
by: Jerry Liao

The new generation of mobile phones comes with a lot of new features and innovations. TouchScreen navigation, hi-resolution cameras and screen display, big storage, animated user interface are just some of the features that we see, not to mention high prices. But no matter how complicated or hi-tech there – the answer to a product’s success is still user experience and preference.

A recent survey commissioned by AccessSystems Americas, and conducted by research firm Amplitude Research indicated that buyers of new cell phones still regard text messaging (73%) and a camera (67%) as the most important features they look for when deciding what mobile phone should they buy.

Email capabilities (63%), Internet (61%), music (34%), video capability (33%) were also frequent choices, with only a small percentage selecting such features as battery life (0.5%) or voice activation (0.33%).

Ease of Use
According to the survey, just over 62% of survey respondents said they would use a “Bluetooth” device to comply with laws restricting the use of cell phones or mobile devices when driving; slightly more than 51% said they would employ a hands-free microphone on an existing mobile device; 18.5% said they would stop using the phone in the vehicle. Just over 12% said they would use voice recognition software, and just over 7% said they would “ignore the law and hope not to get caught.”

More Applications
39% of the survey respondents have added new applications (e.g., games; graphics programs; online photo management, Internet phone applications/VOIP; stock trackers; sports teams/games trackers; business applications; productivity; utilities) to their cell phone, with just over 21% adding six or more new applications. When cell phone users were asked to identify (from a list of nine items) the two cell phone applications that are not necessary to have, stock trackers (42%) and sports teams/games trackers (36.6%) were selected most often. Business applications (10.3%), productivity (7.5%), and utilities (4.8%) were selected the least i.e., are more often perceived as necessary items.

Email Usage
41% of the survey respondents who use a cell phone with emailing capabilities said they send or check for emails one to five times a day. Almost 16% said they send or check for emails between six and ten times a day; 14% said the use their cell phone for emailing more than ten times a day, while 28% said they never use their cell phone for emailing.

Of the survey respondents who have a cell phone with emailing capabilities but who do not currently use those capabilities, nearly 12% said they believe they will start using their cell phone to send or check for emails within the next year, while almost 46% answered they might.

Nearly 40% of the survey respondents said they use their cell phone for various kinds of “alerts,” such as traffic, weather, stock market updates, sales-at-favorite-stores alerts and TV show updates.

Mobile Banking
Nearly 30% of the survey respondents said they use their cell phone for banking transactions or to check their bank account balances. Of the 70% who said they don’t, almost 56% said they had no interest in doing so in the future, while almost 38% said they were “somewhat interested” in using their cell phone for banking transactions or to check their bank account balances, and just over 6% said they were “very interested.”

Only 16% of the survey respondents said they use their cell phone to make credit card or mortgage payments, and of the nearly 84% who said they don’t, almost 67% said they had no interest in doing so in the future, with almost 29% saying they were “somewhat interested,” and just over 4% expressing they are “very interested” in using their cell phone to make credit card or mortgage payments.

Help Line
88% of the survey respondents said they found it “very important” to have a cell phone to use in case of an emergency, while 4.83% said that the only reason they have a cell phone is in case of emergency.

Hacking Issues
When asked if their cell phone had ever been hacked, just over 79% said “no,” almost 5% answered “yes,” just over 9% said they “didn’t know,” and almost 7% answered “I’m not aware that hacking of my device is a significant threat.”

Carrier Consideration
When buying a new cell phone, collectively almost 74% of the survey respondents said they either strongly consider the telecommunications service provider (55.6%) or that the carrier is the most important consideration (18.3%). 23% said they somewhat consider who is the carrier, with only 3% noting they do not consider at all the carrier.

The survey simply means that as much as mobile phones offer a lot of functionalities, the main use of it is still communication especially SMS. Users still look for mobile phones that offers easy navigation and ease of use when it comes to SMS sending and receiving.

The respondents are from the U.S., but I am pretty sure that if the survey were done here, the results would have been the same since the Philippines is regarded as the texting capital of the world. Phones that are easy to use, stylish, trendy and the most important ingredient of all – affordable will make it big in the mobile industry.

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