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Siena Poll: New Yorkers ? Smartphones

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Could Ma Bell be going the way of the telegraph? Ninety percent of New Yorkers now carry cell phones, while more than one-fifth of households across the state have disconnected their landlines, according to a newly-released Siena "smartphone" survey.

"9 in 10 New Yorkers have a cell phone, with 1 in 5 having only a cellphone and no landline. More than 2/3rds of cellphone users and nearly 2/3rds of all New Yorkers have a smartphone, the majority of those being an iPhone."  Siena Research Institute Director Don Levy adds that twice as many New Yorkers make all or most of their phone calls on cell phones compared to those who make all or most of their calls on landlines. 

Levy says texting, email and hopping on the net are smartphone features New Yorkers embrace.  "More than 80 percent of cell phone consumers, and that's about three-quarters of all New Yorkers, use their cellphones for texting, including nearly all young people and between a quarter and a third of even senior citizens. More than three-quarters of smartphone users, whether they use it for personal or combined personal and work usage, send and receive email via their smartphone. It's become part and parcel of the work/life experience. An even larger percentage, use it to access the internet for various reasons."

Smartphones are cameras, radios, video game consoles, televisions and Walkmans, devices through which we can access untold amounts of information.  University at Albany psychologist Julia Hormes says we're now accustomed to having all that information at our fingertips.   "We do get used to that and it does change expectations. We don't have to wait anymore. We don't have to be patient and we don't have to remember things and it's all right there."
The survey found more than half of New Yorkers (84 percent of those with smartphones) use their phones for travel directions.  More than two-thirds of those with a smartphone use it for tracking news (42 percent of all New Yorkers) and Facebook (41 percent of New Yorkers). Additionally, 40 percent say they use their cell phones to listen to music, 27 percent use them for Skype or Facetime, and 22 percent watch movies.

Half of smartphone users (39 percent of all New Yorkers) use wireless technology – including Bluetooth – from their cars.   63 percent of smartphone holders in the state use them for both work and personal use, compared to 36 percent who carry them exclusively for personal use.

Marissa Shorenstein is New York State president of AT&T, which commissioned the survey to get a better understanding of how users are interacting with telephone technology.  "Not just as a place to make phone calls and send emails but the technology has really become a part of peoples’ lives that extends beyond just those things to all other areas of life, whether it’s watching television or using applications or so many other things. We now know the technology has permeated the way we live our lives from the moment we get up until the moment we go to sleep at night."

Levy, too, sees the ubiquitous smartphone as part and parcel of the fabric of life of all New Yorkers. And he notes users love their apps.    "More than 90 percent have downloaded apps with two-thirds having downloaded at least 10 and one-third having downloaded at least 20."

Although survey findings show that, by a margin of 53 to 43 percent, most New York smartphone users have chosen iPhones over Androids, Android is the preferred platform for the elite:  eight in 10 of the world’s wealthiest 1 percent own a smartphone, according to Global Web Index’s (GWI), and they favor Droids by 38 percent, compared with 26 percent who use iPhones.

SRI conducted 1,404 interviews via land and mobile lines with New York residents last November. A sampling of 591 respondents completed the survey on a cell phone while 813 completed it on a landline.


Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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