Cell phone and wireless laptop internet use have each grown more prevalent over the last year. Nearly half of all adults (47%) go online with a laptop using a Wi-Fi connection or mobile broadband card (up from the 39% who did so as of April 2009) while 40% of adults use the internet, email or instant messaging on a mobile phone (up from the 32% of Americans who did this in 2009). This means that 59% of adults now access the internet wirelessly using a laptop or cell phone—that is, they answered “yes” to at least one of these wireless access pathways. That adds up to an increase from the 51% who used a laptop or cell phone wirelessly in April 2009.
The use of non-voice data applications on cell phones has grown dramatically over the last year. Compared with a similar point in 2009, cell phone owners are now more likely to use their mobile phones to:
- Take pictures—76% now do this, up from 66% in April 2009
- Send or receive text messages—72% vs. 65%
- Access the internet—38% vs. 25%
- Play games—34% vs. 27%
- Send or receive email—34% vs. 25%
- Record a video—34% vs. 19%
- Play music—33% vs. 21%
- Send or receive instant messages—30% vs. 20%
African-Americans and English-speaking Latinos continue to be among the most active users of the mobile web. Cell phone ownership is higher among African-Americans and Latinos than among whites (87% vs. 80%) and minority cell phone owners take advantage of a much greater range of their phones’ features compared with white mobile phone users. In total, 64% of African-Americans access the internet from a laptop or mobile phone, a seven-point increase from the 57% who did so at a similar point in 2009.
Young adults (those ages 18-29) are also avid users of mobile data applications, but older adults are gaining fast. Compared with 2009, cell phone owners ages 30-49 are significantly more likely to use their mobile device to send text messages, access the internet, take pictures, record videos, use email or instant messaging, and play music.
About the Survey
This report is based on the findings of a daily tracking survey on Americans’ use of the Internet. The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International between April 29 and May 30, 2010, among a sample of 2,252 adults, age 18 and older. Interviews were conducted in English. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points. For results based Internet users (n=1,756), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting telephone surveys may introduce some error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.