Smartphones increasingly crowding out other devices: survey

U.K. smartphone users report ditching alarm clocks, cameras, and even laptops

A recent study from European telecom O2 found that smartphone users in the U.K. depend on those devices for an increasingly large proportion of their day-to-day activities -- so much so, in fact, that many have begun to abandon other gadgets altogether.

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Alarm clocks and watches are the devices most frequently pushed aside by smartphones. According to O2, 54% and 46% of smartphone owners, respectively, said that they had stopped using those items.

However, it's not just simple timekeeping that is being entrusted to the smartphone these days. The survey found that 28% of respondents had actually started to abandon laptop computers in favor of their handhelds.

Devices general manager for O2 in the U.K. David Johnson compared the smartphone to a digital Swiss army knife.

"While we're seeing no let-up in the number of calls customers make or the amount of time they spend speaking on their phones, their phone now plays a far greater role in all aspects of their lives," he said.

O2's statistics bear this out. The average survey respondent spent a little less than 25 minutes per day browsing the Internet on their smartphone, roughly double the amount of time spent on voice calling. Social networks, music and gaming all saw higher average daily investments of time than simple phone use.

The dominance of the smartphone can be seen in other surveys, too. Statistics from Nielsen said that the proportion of smartphones in the U.S. mobile market reached 50% in February, up from just over one-third in the same month in 2011.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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