Ericsson's ConsumerLab said communications services remain the most used function on smartphones, accounting for at least 30 per cent of the time users spend using their device.
In an examination of the way people across the world use their smartphone, the ConsumerLab said functions including voice, instant messaging, email, social networking and voice over IP continue to dominate users' time, despite the wide range of other functions available on the devices, including entertainment, games and photography.
The company said the survey of smartphone users in India, Japan, South Korea, the UK and U.S. revealed that communications apps dominate mobile broadband network usage.
"We found that 40 to 50 per cent of data consumption for communications apps uses mobile broadband, whereas the corresponding figure for video is just 20 per cent," noted Swetleena Swain, a senior advisor at Ericsson ConsumerLab.
The company added that smartphone users in the UK and the U.S. lean more towards voice communication than their counterparts in Japan and South Korea, where text messaging and locally developed communications apps are in vogue.
A breakdown of the UK figures reveals that communications accounted for exactly 30 per cent of users' time spent of smartphones. The second largest category is rather vaguely entitled 'other' and accounted for 22 per cent of usage, with the third largest sector being utility and productivity tools, which accounted for 18 per cent.
Ericsson's research also flagged up a growing consumer interest in visual applications including Pinterest and Instagram, which it stated have each seen significant growth in usage over the past 12 months. Younger smartphone users are erring towards services including Snapchat that offer enhanced privacy features to enable the users to circumvent parental inspection.
Looking ahead, respondents told Ericsson they expect so-called 'smart' assistants to become mainstream in the next 12 months. The company defined the services as those that users access via voice and that provide advice or make reservations, but concluded by noting that it "remains to be seen how significant the trend will be."
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