As our phones get smarter, we do not it seems

Smartphones and tablets are all around us these days. They regularly appear in films--where producers surely must be making use of those easy-to-use Doro phones because a text message often fills the entire phone screen--in restaurants, where tablets appear to have become the latest thing in child care, and on trains, planes and automobiles for entertaining those with short attention spans.

How we consume content on our mobile devices is of enormous interest to marketing and publishing folk, too, as they try to work out ways of tapping into that mobile stream. In short, smartphones are becoming ubiquitous in the developed world in a number of different demographics.

The downside is that smartphones have also introduced a new aspect of daily life: phone rage. How often have you cursed that person who decides to wile away their bus journey by calling their entire contacts list; had to dodge people more interested in watching YouTube clips than looking where they are going; been bothered by the lit-up screen of someone's tablet while you're at the cinema?

Just me then…

Latest research also suggests that smartphones have a further downside: they are making us clumsier. According to SquareTrade, which has a vested interest here as a provider of mobile protection plans, our tendency to browse and walk leads to tripping incidents that often cause us to damage our phones.

It also appears that some countries are clumsier than others: according to data gathered across 18 countries in total, Greece, Italy and Spain have the clumsiest mobile phone users in Europe. Norway and Ireland are placed in fourth and fifth places with the UK in sixth position.

The study says that just over 40 per cent of Greek smartphone users managed to damage their phones in stumbling incidents during the last two years. In the same period, 39.8 per cent of Italian and 38.9 per cent of Spanish smartphone users had slipped up when using a phone.

Worse still, we're not only damaging our phones, we're also causing damage to ourselves: a separate poll of UK smartphone owners found that 86 per cent had tripped, stumbled or hit a lamppost or wall when distracted using a mobile device.

In other words, while our phones get increasingly smart, our behaviour goes in the opposite direction.

"We all want to stay connected all the time, but there are moments when you need to switch off--when you're walking down the street for example. Right now it seems that when it comes to phones, the smarter they come, the harder we fall," said Kevin Gillan, European managing director for SquareTrade.

Well said Mr Gillan, well said.--Anne