Smartphones and social media were made for one another. Most people use their smartphones as a "gap filler," a way to kill a few minutes of time on the subway, in line for coffee, and even — yes — in the bathroom [source: Krawczyk]. (More than a third of social media users ages 18-24 access their favorite sites in the john [source: Nielsen].)
Social media networks serve much the same purpose, providing a quick jolt of information, entertainment and social connection via popular networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. The fact that we can now access social media virtually anywhere through native smartphone apps and mobile Web has been a boon for both the gadgets and the social networks we love.
According to "Nielsen's State of the Media: The Social Media Report 2012," 46 percent of all social media users in America now use their smartphones to access social media networks. In the Asia-Pacific region, that number climbs to 59 percent.
Facebook still rules mobile social media, boasting over 78 million unique American users in 2012. Twitter, FourSquare and Google + were next in line, with U.S. audiences of 22.6 million, 10.3 million and 9.6 million respectively [source: Nielsen].
To capitalize on the trend, the British company INQ markets its Cloud Touch smartphone to confirmed Facebook addicts. The smartphone makes phone calls, technically, but its user interface is designed for quick full-screen access to Facebook friends, your Facebook news feed and Facebook chat [source: INQ].
For lots more information about personal gadgets and entertainment technology, check out the related HowStuffWorks links below.
Author's Note: 5 Innovative Social Devices
The world still waits for the game-changing device or killer app that fully integrates our entertainment consumption and social lives. Apple has come the closest. The iPhone completely revolutionized the smartphone sector — remember when Blackberry was the "hot" gadget — and iPad made the tech world believe in the incredible potential of the tablet. And let's not forget about iTunes, which rescued music, movie and TV content from the low-quality chaos of peer-to-peer file sharing and proved that reasonable people will pay 99 cents for a song. So why hasn't Apple TV achieved similar success? The service lets you share all of your digital content across every gadget in the house and streams high-def movies and TV from iTunes or Netflix, but it's lacking an intuitive and simple connection to our favorite social networks. The WiiU seems to be the closest thing to an all-in-one gaming, entertainment and social machine, but will it catch on? Until we get that killer app, the social media-addicted couch potato in all of us will soldier on.
- Associated Press. "By the Numbers: Netflix subscribers." Oct. 23, 2012 (Jan. 1, 2013) http://finance.yahoo.com/news/numbers-netflix-subscribers-205626248--finance.html
- Cisco. "Cisco Videoscape: Reinventing the Video Experience." (Jan. 1, 2013) http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns341/ns1043/solution_overview_c22-696150_ns1106_Networking_Solution_Solution_Overview.html
- Dailey, John A. Game to Learn. "Social Media Presence: Xbox vs. PlayStation." December 2, 2012 (January 7, 2013) http://socialmedia.mis.temple.edu/mis3538jadailey/2012/12/02/social-media-presence-xbox-vs-playstation/
- Elgan, Mike. Computerworld. "The rise of the social picture gadget." September 8, 2012 (Dec. 31, 2012) http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9231041/Elgan_The_rise_of_the_social_picture_gadget?taxonomyId=236&pageNumber=2
- Elmer-Dewitt, Philip. Fortune. "Apple's 3 million iPad weekend: What the analysts are saying." November 5, 2012 (Dec. 31, 2012) http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2012/11/05/apples-3-million-ipad-weekend-what-the-analysts-are-saying/
- Hatfield, Damon. IGN. "Xbox Live Through the Years." Jan. 8, 2010 (Jan. 1, 2013) http://www.ign.com/articles/2010/01/09/xbox-live-through-the-years
- INQ. "INQ Cloud Touch" (Dec. 31, 2012) http://new.inqmobile.com/products/inq-cloud-touch#/overview
- Krawczyk, Jack. TechCrunch. "Your Mobile Phone is the Least Social Device You Own." July 8, 2012 (Dec. 31, 2012) http://techcrunch.com/2012/07/08/your-mobile-device-is-the-least-social-device-you-own/
- Murphy, David. PCMag.com. "Microsoft Kills Facebook and Twitter Apps on Xbox Live, Adds IE9." October 20, 2012 (Jan. 1, 2013) http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2411216,00.asp
- Nielsen. "State of the Media: The Social Media Report 2012." (Dec. 31, 2012) http://www.nielsen.com/content/dam/corporate/us/en/reports-downloads/2012-Reports/The-Social-Media-Report-2012.pdf
- Nikon. "Coolpix S800c." (Dec. 31, 2012) http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Nikon-Products/Product/Compact-Digital-Cameras/26356/COOLPIX-S800c.html
- Nintendo. WiiU. "Miiverse." (Jan. 1, 2013) http://www.nintendo.com/wiiu/built-in-software/#/miiverse
- Nintendo. WiiU. "Nintendo TVii." (Jan. 1, 2013) http://www.nintendo.com/wiiu/built-in-software/#/tvii
- Reuters. "Apple to lose tablet market share to Android in 2012: IDC." Dec. 5, 2012 (Dec. 31, 2012) http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/05/us-tabletmarket-research-idc-idUSBRE8B40O920121205
The heyday of Morse code is over, but the communication method of dots and dashes still has a place in our digital world. HowStuffWorks takes a look.