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Text is the new voice; messaging takes the lead

Sections: Cellphones, Cellular Providers, Communications, Mobile, Smartphones

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I’ve a confession: I notice people’s phones. It seems to be a condition I’ve developed after writing about phones for a year. I note what kind of phone, the user, and what they are doing with it.

So when riding a bus from a country fair (don’t ask), back to my car, I noted the older woman in front of me texting her friends. Or at least trying to. It was all I could do not to say, “Hey, I’ve been watching you and your phone and all you need to do to send that text is…”, but I didn’t because that is waaay too stalker-like, even for me.

It lead to me thinking, do we really need voice capabilities at all? Sure, for the meandering BS session with some college buddies, but for most of my calls, text would work just fine. Seems more and more people are thinking the same thing. According to the NY Times, more people in the US texted instead of called in the last quarter of 2007, a first for texts, surpassing voice calls and signals a shift in how we use our phones as well as what kind of phones we’ll desire in the future.

Watching that woman text on her standard-issue flip phone was painful. I could have handed her my old-school BlackJack and had her going in no time. Harris Interactive says their study confirmed a full 42% of teens said they could text blindfolded, or you know, while driving. For Q4 2007, the average users placed or received 204 calls while typing or receiving 357 texts, according to Nielson Mobile.

When the Telco’s read Nielson Mobile’s report on qwerty-equipped users text 54% more than their flip-phone counterparts, I’d be willing to guess we’ll see more and more qwerty-equipped phones headed our way. It is no secret text messages are a ripe source of quick cash for the carriers.

Read [New York Times]

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