What are the most and least used features on smartphones?

Tuesday October 23 2012

What are the most and least used features on smartphones?

Most people use smartphones for listening to music, playing games, browsing the internet and social networking where phones were once primarily for making calls and texting. Internet Photo. 

By Mustafa Ziraba

Over the last decade or so, people all around the world have been satisfying their computing needs and multimedia requirements through their desktops and laptops. But things are changing really fast with the introduction of smartphones and handheld devices a few years back.

More and more users are adopting these devices every day to perform further on the go and always stay connected. Technology giants are releasing newer and enhanced handheld devices every month to grab a slice of the market share thus creating endless choices for the end user. With loads of features and tonnes of applications to support them, these devices have established themselves as the mainstay of the technology market. There was a time when phones were only used for making calls. In fact, when mobile phones were invented, it was to address one specific function to make wireless calls wherever you are. With the evolution of mobile phones, more and more functions were added to it.

With the latest generation of smartphones, a lot of functions have been incorporated into the device but at the disadvantage of other functions. Surprisingly, one of those functions is the ability to make calls.

Believe it or not, today, globally, calling is indeed the least used as well as the least popular smartphone feature. People prefer to use their mobile phones these days for anything other than talking to other people. However, this might not be the same case with the members of the previous generation. Most of them still believe that mobile phones are meant to make calls and for them making calls still remains the most fundamental and important feature of their phone. The world over, mobile networks are aware of this fact and shall soon have to change their business models.

So what are the most popular features of a smartphone? Let me list them from the least popular to the most popular.

Surprisingly, when it comes to smartphone usage, gaming is more important than making calls.


Previously, your son or daughter would pick your phone to call their friends, not anymore. I have a brother-in –law who always picks my wife’s iPhone just for the games. Only words you hear from him is “Hi” and “Bye” (when the battery has run down). At one point phones just came with three or four pre-installed games.

But with high memory storage and application stores one can download many exciting games which can keep them occupied for hours. These games are horribly addictive. Adventure, shooting, puzzles, name it, and the game is there on Apple iTunes or Google’s Play Store. In fact it has been predicted that full on gaming consoles like PlayStation or Xbox shall be niche market devices with most gaming done on smartphones.

Listening to music
Over the years, music has always been a stress reliever for many. Now is no different. We live in a world where tension and stress are inevitably a part of our lives. There isn’t an instant when we don’t want to listen to music, going home, in the traffic, at home, in the kitchen and in fact there are people who take their phones in when they are having a bath and play music, some people play music on their phones and sleep.

While working many people plug on their phones and work with music. With the dawn of mp3s, personalisation of music became very prominent where it is very common to see people having a collection of music they like. Naturally, the next best thing we would all want to do with a smartphone is listen to music.

Social networking
In today’s highly connective world social networking sites are the first place we reveal things. Employed in a new company, just broke up, in a relationship, married and the philosophical quotes which are aimed at someone on your friend list, everything is up on Facebook.

Even before we sit down to start work in the morning, we have to check in, right before we leave work, lunch hour. Now that all the major phones are integrated with Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites we are constantly updating our status. This makes second most used and popular feature of a smartphone social networking.

Well we are now at the most used feature of a smartphone. Browsing tops the list. With internet at our fingertips we can almost say bye to switching on your laptop and connecting to the web world. All we have to do now is open the browser on our phone, type in what we want and boom the results are there. The introduction of 3G has boosted the number of people who browse the internet using their smartphones. Want to find out something more about the company where you are going for an interview? Want to tip the scale in an argument based on fact? Want to see that NTV clip you missed? All you need to do is open your browser and do whatever you want.

Other honourable mentions include watching videos, taking pictures and reading eBooks.