The mobile phone is now the second most important status symbol among teens, behind clothing, according to a new study spearheaded by CTIA The Wireless Association. A panel discussion Friday during the CTIA Wireless I.T. and Entertainment 2008 event in San Francisco shed further light on teen trends and tastes, with seven youths between the ages of 13 and 19 answering questions about their wireless behaviors. Trip Hawkins, CEO of mobile entertainment developer Digital Chocolate, moderated the panel, noting that one in three teens now play mobile games or browse the mobile web, while one in five are social networking. "We're in the middle of an omni-media revolution," Hawkins said. "We're starting to see billions of people showing up to become consumers of digital content."
The teen panelists weighed in on subjects from data pricing to devices mobile applications, giving high marks to Apple's iPhone and criticizing battery life, premium download pricing and inferior user interfaces. Almost all of the teens said they acquired their first mobile device while still in elementary school, with most on their second, third or even fourth new device. All rely on their phones to interact with their families as well as their friends: "You guys should all text your kids," one girl advised the CTIA attendees.
Other findings of the CTIA teen study, conducted in association with Harris Interactive: Forty-seven percent said their social life would end without mobile communications, and one in three said they've used their phones to help others in trouble. The most desired features include shock and water proofing (81 percent), endless power (80 percent), privacy screen (58 percent), flexible material that folds into different shapes and sizes (39 percent) and artificial intelligence (38 percent).
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