Technology Penetration

Noting a shift in the devices we use.

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 A couple of years ago I wrote about a study claiming 25% of two-year-olds possessed a smart phone. I received several comments afterwards from readers aghast at the statistic. I do not know what the stats are today for two-year-olds, but another study has surfaced describing our technology addiction. Last October, the Pew Research Center reported on “Technology Device Ownership: 2015.” In the report, the authors described the penetration of our favorite computer technology. Interestingly, there were both ups and downs.

In terms of smart phone use, the Pew study claims 68% of American adults have a smart phone (up from 35% in 2011). This is eclipsed by 86% of younger people, aged 18-29, and 83% of those ages 30-49. Cell phones have gone even farther, from 65% in 2004 to 92% in 2015. This means we are near the saturation point for communication devices. Back in the day of the landline, a telephone in your room was a prized luxury when you became a teenager. Anyone remember the “Princess” phone? Now, nearly 100% of all family members have their own personal phone of one kind or another. Yet, we still cannot seem to answer any of them.

The study also noted the decline of certain devices. For example, portable gaming devices have plateaued and are starting to subside, going from 41% penetration in 2009 to 40% in 2015. Likewise, MP3 devices peaked in 2010 and are now declining to 40% penetration. The one device that surprised me though was the e-Book reader which started in 2009, peaked in 2014 at 28%, but experienced a sharp decline in 2015 to 18%. In all likelihood, these devices are being quickly replaced by smart phones and tablets which are showing steady growth. Either that or people are losing their interest in reading.

Desktop computers and laptops are also starting to decline, presumably because of smart phone and tablet technology. As Pew reports, “Today, 78% of adults under 30 own a laptop or desktop computer, compared with 88% who did so in 2010.”

Frankly, I cannot live without a keyboard. The touch screen technology of the tablets is simply not for serious typing.

So, what can we learn from these statistics? Simple; our technology addiction grows unabated even in spite of a major shift in devices, away from desktops, laptops, and traditional devices, and moving towards smart phones and tablets. Understand this, the technology we’ve imbued our two-year-olds with will likely be obsolete in five years, replaced by something else. Experts have already predicted the demise of the smart phone. I’ll be curious to see what it is replaced by.

Keep the Faith!