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Smartphone key to right now decisions

Tuesday - 5/8/2012, 7:23am  ET

Neal Augenstein, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - A new study shows people are using smartphones as more than just a way to play Angry Birds. They're using them to make decisions and get things done.

A Pew Internet Project study shows 70 percent of all cellphone users and 86 percent of all smartphone users have gathered information and performed real-time tasks with their mobile device.

The Pew study, "Just-in-time Information through Mobile Connections" shows people do benefit from information at their fingertips and they are changing because of it.

In the past 30 days, phone owners performed at least one of the following activities:

  • 41 percent coordinated a meeting or get-together.
  • 35 percent solved an unexpected problem they or someone else had.
  • 30 percent chose to visit a business, such as a restaurant, based on phone information.
  • 27 percent settled an argument.
  • 23 percent looked up a sports score.
  • 20 percent got up-to-the-minute traffic or public transit information.
  • 19 percent got help in an emergency situation.

"Just-in-time information searches are changing people's expectations about where, when and how they can reach out for help. This is rapidly speeding up the flow of information (in) users' lives," says Susannah Fox, co-author of the report.

"Smartphones are changing basic patterns of human communication because they allow people to get real-time information to help them solve problems."

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)