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UK smart phone adoption reaches 61 per cent

Smart phones continue their rise, with six out of every 10 blowers in Britain now classified as 'smart', according to new data from Nielsen.

Six out of every 10 mobiles in the UK are smart phones, according to Nielsen, which recently revealed that 61 per cent of all British blowers now qualify as 'smart' -- a higher proportion than even the US.

Nielsen examined 10 key phone markets around the world, with the UK coming fifth.

That doesn't mean they're as widely adopted globally, with several key markets such as India, Russia and Turkey all stuck in the dark ages with feature phones making up more than 50 per cent of the market.

It seems that our brothers across the pond are finding it particularly hard being weaned off their feature phones, with almost 40 per cent of Americans still carrying them in their pockets.

South Koreans are the top adopters of smart phones, with 67 per cent -- but only marginally, with China snapping at its heels with a surprising 66 per cent. Australia came in third place with 65 per cent adoption, while Italy managed to just nip the UK to fourth with 62 per cent.

India turned out to be the country surveyed with the least smart phones, with a whopping 80 per cent of phone users in the country using the more basic feature phone. Just 30 per cent of Brits are still using feature phone, while the remaining 9 per cent opt for 'multimedia' phones.

If you're wondering what counts as a smart phone, here's its definition of the different categories:

  • Smart phones: Use advanced operation systems, devices with and without touchscreens
  • Multimedia phones: Have a touchscreen and/or Qwerty keypad, but without an advanced operating system
  • Feature phones: no touchscreen, Qwerty keypad, or advanced operating system

That's still rather vague, but I'd say an 'advanced operating system' is one which allows you to access the Internet and install new apps.

Nielsen's report also revealed that there are big differences in the way people in different countries use their phones. Us Brits are obsessed with news, weather and games, while people in Russia, for example, prefer productivity apps and mobile banking.

Our brethren over in the States are apparently big-time consumers of movies and videos on their phones, with a whopping 65 per cent of phone owners gathered huddled around their tiny screens. The same can't be said for the UK, with just 14 per cent of us using our mobiles in that way.

Could you live without your smart phone? Have you walked into Carphone Warehouse and asked for a multimedia phone? Get smart in the comments or hit us up on our multimedia Facebook page.

Update 6 March: Nielsen got in touch with its definitions of the different categories of phones, which we were previously unable to find.