It was less than a decade ago that the only people you'd see carrying smartphones or those chunky BlackBerry or Palm Treos were business executives. But times have changed. New data shows that more than half of all Americans have smartphones in their pockets.
According to new research from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, 61 percent of Americans own a smartphone. Sure, many still own a regular cellphone, with 91 percent of the adult population owning some sort of mobile phone. But the jump in smartphone owners is substantial. According to Pew's previous reports, in May 2011, 35 percent of Americans owned smartphones, while in February 2012, 46 percent owned a more powerful phone.
Of course, the big question is what kind of smartphones do these Americans use. According to Pew, the split between iPhone and Android phone owners is pretty even. Twenty-eight percent of all cell owners are Android users, while iPhone owners now represent 25 percent of the cell-owner population.
That leaves Android with a slight lead, but it really leaves BlackBerry owners behind. Only 4 percent own BlackBerry devices, down from 10 percent in May 2011.
The increase in smartphones has also meant a big increase in smartphone thefts. More than 1.6 million people had their smartphones stolen last year, which is why San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have summoned the four largest companies in the smartphone industry to New York City next week for a "Smartphone Summit."
Turns out more Americans with smartphones means more communication, but also a few more problems.