Icon for smartphone - G.Hagedorn - Wikimedia Commons

Smartphone users were asked what smartphone function they could not live without, and one in five (22%) said texting followed by internet (17%) and email (16%).  Only 8% of users cited making phone calls as an indispensible feature of a smartphone!

We are ALL somewhere on the Digital Frontier … and for a growing number of us (72.5 million) this frontier is in the form of a smartphone.  The television screen gave way to the computer screen and has been replaced with the screen in our pocket.  In fact, 59% of smartphone users say they prefer using their smartphones to access the internet over using a computer.

If you add in the mobile tablet users, the digital frontier gets even more interesting.  The news is great if you are a retailer.  Over half of us have used our mobile devices to purchase something.  Tablet owners are even more likely to browse and buy.  In-store browsing and research while physically shopping is growing by leaps and bounds.  When smartphone owners were recently asked by the research firm Complete Data, if they would use their mobile phones as a substitute for a credit or debit card when buying groceries, 25% said yes.  One more reason to end your call before going through checkout.

Smartphone and tablet owners are beginning to shift how they experience life.  A majority say their device has replaced a traditional alarm clock (61%), and their GPS (52%).  4 in 10 say their mobile device has replaced a digital camera (44%), a personal planner (41%) and a landline phone (40%).  Newspapers (28%), radios (27%), and MP3 players (37%) are the next to go.  It’s my phone and it’s my life.

There are consulting firms like Prosper Mobile studying of how we use our mobile devices today, and authors such as Joe Pine and Kim Korn, Infinite Possibility: creating customer value on the digital frontier, providing frameworks for how to discover the opportunities in this new world.  The only thing we can bet on is that the next mobile device will change how we experience life yet again.

Where are you in this mobile digital frontier?