Do You Still Use Your Phone For ...Talking? | webOS Nation

Do You Still Use Your Phone For ...Talking? 85

by Robert Werlinger Fri, 14 May 2010 1:42 pm EDT

Smartphones: they can browse the web, play music, send emails and update Facebook.  Oh yeah, and they can  make phone calls too.  The New York Times has as an article up that examines how smartphone usage habits have changed over the last couple of years, and posits an interesting question: how often do we smartphone owners still use our phones as ...phones?

I, like many of the people profiled in the article, talk surprisingly little on the phone. Most social engagements are arranged via Facebook or text, most work communication is done via email, and I usually only talk verbally once or twice a week - generally when something is urgent.  A quick check of my Sprint account via the online portal spells this out: we're using only a tiny fraction (~300) of the voice minutes of the carrier's smallest shared data plan (the Everything Data Share 1500), which is shared by two smartphone users.  Even that 300 minute number is on the high side for us.

Reasons cited by folks in the article about why they don't use their phones as phones as often these days generally range from "it's simply too disruptive" to "I really only call someone if I don't have their Twitter handle or e-mail address".

People using their phones more for things other than talking is undoubtedly a trend, and one that will continue to accelerate in the coming years.  The NYT article cites Sprint CEO Dan Hesse as expecting that carriers will eventually stop charging subscribers for voice minutes entirely, billing them instead for data only.  Industry data even suggests that not only do folks talk less on their phones, but the average conversation is a full minute shorter than it was even a year ago.  

How often do you talk on the phone these days?



Yup, I like you only use the phone if it's urgent

I use my phone for both personal and business. Almost 2000 minutes a month. In addition to all the emails, texts, and social media. More of everything.

Smartphones are less and less concerned about their "phone" feature. You never see anything related to the "phone" advertised. It's always about the web browsing, email, camera, facebook, etc.

I personally almost never talk to friends on the phone. In fact, when a friend calls me out of the blue, I assume something terrible has happened.

I share the same plan with my wife and we probably only use about 100 minutes if that much. I even text my mom & dad now I gave my dad my old centro & he still asks how to use it when I see him.

I have the lowest of the lowest plans I believe it's simply everything 450 mins, yup and I barely break 150 mins a month

Yeah, less than 300 minutes for two people on a family plan as well. I only see it diminishing. Mostly I text, IM and email. I do use it for work, although I try and steer that traffic to my desktop landline so I'm not "on" 24-7.

Google voice would help you out a lot!

Best reason not to use Google Voice on your phone (since you've probably got unlimited minutes anyway) is radiation. Use a land line for your voice (or your computer with a wired headset, if you need VOIP) and keep your phone away from your head!

(Yes, I'm paranoid. But that doesn't mean I'm wrong!)

I talk on it all the time....I'd call you and tell you that if I had your number....I have greatly increased the amount of texting I do, however....I mostly notice the text first mentality in iphone users....

I think making phone calls is old school I have 450 minutes and so far I only use 5 or 10 minutes a month but I text, aim, emails 99%

Ok, it seems like everyone is talking anytime minutes. If I say anytime I am hitting 248 minutes on a 3 phone family plan. If we go with all minutes I am pushing 4000. Are we talking ALL minutes? I still use it as a phone but also have nearly 3000 texts.

I still use my phone as a phone fairly regularly... although the amount of anytime minutes I use on sprint is virtually zero.
Free Mobile to ANY Mobile etc...

I find a I do use my phone primarily in the car (in conjucntion with my Jabra 700 bluetooth speakerphone)

I'll jump-in and be the first to offer a different opinion. Perhaps this might change when I get my Pre (using a BB currently), but, I find that the 'Smart' part of the phone only adds to my usage. I still use the phone (voice) about as much as I used to, only, now I can get/send eMail & do other things as well.

Often, I find myself writing a text and abort it (to call) --> Some things are simpler to explain in a few sentences vs. a lot of text.

That said: I only use 250 minutes / month. But, that's always been my phone use.

I know this is bit Old-School. All the same, that's how I use my phone.

Of Course.

The building I work in has horrid Sprint data connections and voice only works in certain parts. The work environment thus controls my voice usage. That said, I'd much rather hear my wife's voice than any other sound.

I'm with you, the vast majority 95% + are calls with my wife. I still don't use a lot of minutes (she uses more than me do to her work and family). The majority of my communication is electronic either with my phone, home pc, or work pc..... But that will NEVER replace the sound of my wifes voice.

This is why I'm not hyped up over new specs, it's a freaking phone people, that's all. It's not a laptop, it never will be. It's a phone, maybe I'm just old school but I don't care about processor speed on a phone... seriously... it's a phone. As long as I have email access, texting and the ability to make a call I am okay.

4/ 450
677/ Unlimited
Sprint Data
297,222KB/ Unlimited

yea...not much talking

very little here myself. that's why i can't leave at&t because i love their rollover feature. i still have 2000 minutes. looking forward to at&t palm pre plus!

Rollover isn't exactly a free feature since you're paying more for the plan than you would on Sprint anyhow.
Plus Free Mobile to Mobile blows rollover out of the water like a rubber duckie getting hit by a 16" gun off a battleship.

free mobile to mobile is cool too indeed, and that 69.99 everything plan does sound enticing. however, i use my phone for work too and i get calls from non-mobile phones.

I use like 20 mins a month, but text like 5-7k.... these girls love textin these days (which is better then havin to talk to them all night)

I saw this article in the NYTimes too.

I call my husband a few times a day for 1 minute at a pop. But I use the phone a few times an hour to do something else. I use the phone for long periods only to talk to my mom. But she's on Skype now and I expect those calls will decline too.

To put it in context - my husband, mother, I, and my college-aged son easily shared 500 minutes for the last 8 years and never went over. In-network calls are free, however. The only long calls are to parents who are out of town.

just a short year ago or so I remember having ongoing arguments with my wife about how dumb it is to send a text when a 30 second phone call can achieve as much or more than a text message.... Ican't remember what her voice sounds like now. I see my daughter more now thoug so that's a plus. I'm fully conformed to the smartphone era now. Send me a text or FB because I don't want to spend the entire phone coversation with you trying to figure out a way to hang up accidentally (come on poor cell service in about 3 miles).

Talk on the phone? What's that? Seriously about 60min a month. Mostly internet and phone tweaking/flashing.

Averages over the last 8 months:
300/450 Anytime
60/Unlimted Text
900/Night & Weekend
4,800,000KB/Unlimted data

Granted I've made my mobile phone my only phone and has been my only phone for 6 years now. And yes, my data use really is that high. Pandora runs 8-10 hours a day every weekday and several hours on weekends. My Pre is my first smartphone that I've owned (as opposed to some POS given to me for work) and seriously one of the smarter purchases I've made in the last 8 months.

just a short year ago or so I remember having ongoing arguments with my wife about how dumb it is to send a text when a 30 second phone call can achieve as much or more than a text message.... Ican't remember what her voice sounds like now. I see my daughter more now thoug so that's a plus. I'm fully conformed to the smartphone era now. Send me a text or FB because I don't want to spend the entire phone coversation with you trying to figure out a way to hang up accidentally (come on poor cell service in about 3 miles).

sorry for the dupe**

I have Simply Everything Data shared with my fiance. We only call eachother the most so no minutes are used. She'll call her sisters and mom a few times a week when texting doesn't do justice. My family and friends back in Cali call me here and there if they haven't heard from me or something. So pretty much we're using less than 150 of our 1500 (technically unlimited for us Premier customers).

We text more than anything. I use a lot of data though =) Her not so much because her Instinct s30 sucks lol. She's always on my Pre browsing the web, playing games, etc. I'm going get her something new...maybe the Evo 4G so we can have the best of both worlds.

I'm getting the next H/Palm webOS smartphone...whether it's 4G or not =]

Ever heard of a phone screen interview? Hard to do one of those over email or text messages and expect that the person you're screening isn't looking up the answers while you're waiting for the reply. I can't really just use text message if I'm calling the folks, either...sometimes the sound of a familiar person's voice means a lot more than a voiceless text message...even if they've got a great avatar.

One of the things I really dig about the Pre is that unlike certain other smartphones which I do not need to name, it's contoured and shaped well for voice calls, but does text as well as most too (unless you've got some serious fat fingers...and at that point, you might as well jam your pocket full of some fugly BlackBerry with an ultra wide keyboard). I don't see voice going away anytime soon...especially if you have to do anything serious that means you getting paid for something sometime.

I know I personally would make more phone calls if a) the average voice quality across cell phones was better, and b) there were fewer dropped calls. Text messages provide for a direct, uninterruptable, quick way to get in touch with someone and a text message is more likely to be read by the recipient than a voicemail or missed call notification as well.

I very rarely have any quality issues with my calls on Sprint. It is crystal clear... and if I do get a "bad" connection, I can usualy just call them right back and get a better one.

I also haven't had issues with dropped calls...

Maybe I am lucky, but I have been with sprint since 2000 and have used it while living multiple years in Ohio, Florida, and Virginia.

wow, you already have an AT&T Pre+?


I average between 400-600 minutes a month.

I use about 30-60 minutes of talk time a month and over 1000 texts and 5GB of data.

I only use the phone to organize plans that are too complicated for texts.

Before getting the pre and an

I don't text or facebook or IM or tweet; I don't even have a text plan (so when some jacka$$ does text me it costs me 20 cents!). It's still primarily a phone to me. I do e-mail on it of course.

The rest of the smartphone functionality is non-communication related. I have a time tracking app for my billable time. Google maps & YP mobile for map and finding stuff. Plenty of games, and an e-book reader.

If the 'smart' part of my Pre broke and only the phone part worked, that'd be inconvenient but I could go for days without really being impacted. But if the phone part broke and all the rest worked, I'd be dead in the water.

My mobile is my home phone. I blew my minutes last month, luckily I have an unlimited minutes promotion.

I'm working 2 long distance relationships, so I still talk on the phone quite often, but I text and Facebook a lot also. Most of my talking is done via Google voice which rings my cell, office and Magic Jack at home simultaneously. Since my GVoice is my primary number, and I'm usually either home or at work,, most of my conversations take place on the home phone (magic jack) or office phone.
I average about 150 minutes on my Sprint phone.

I rarely talk at all. I use maybe 50 minutes a month. I wish there were a smaller plan I could subscribe to. Even if I had 450 minutes TOTAL (without any unlimited provisions), I wouldn't come anywhere near that.

and this, right here, is why kids have 0 conversational skills.
congrats smartphones, you've killed the public ;)

i love my Pre, but god the mic sux :(
kinda does the opposite of background noise canceling, it's magnified louder than i am...

Hahaha. And 15 years or so ago when celluar usage became more popular people said, "And that's why kids' writing skills suck."

Not all of us are like that :P
Though I think the decline of general grammar and phonic skills are more to be blamed on the cellular/smartphone revolution than anything.

I haven't really talked on the phone since 2002 when I got my first unlimited texting plan. I find texting / emailing so much more convenient then making a phone call. I never caught onto the whole facebook / twitter thing though. So for me the only real way to contact me is via text.

My phones main purpose isn't communication though. I use my phone as a source for directions, scores, entertainment etc when I'm away from my pc.

holy crap my Pre makes phone calls!? I have to try that feature out sometime!!!!

just kidding my monthly usuage varies month to month. There may be a month I'm doing ALOT of business b.s. And those months I'm kickin close to 1000minutes of usage plus an ungodly amount of texts and data usuage.

then there's other months I might only use roughly 500min of talk time but then my texts are ungodly double and I'm pretty much online all day. Benefits of my job I am out on the road so when I make stops at businesses which is frequent I check email and stuff real quick. And as a bunch of people probally noticed I have been on PreCentral leaving crazy comments throughout the day.

Precentral is like crack to a tech geek Pre

I still use my phone as a phone about once a day, on average. I used about 550 minutes last month, including Anymobile/Night&Wknd minutes. Texting is not my primary method of communication yet. I spend more time using my phone for games & flashcards than anything else.

Yeah, use my "phone" app everyday. True, it is about 1/3 of usage b4 txting became the electronic crack it is today.

I would probably use the phone more if the Pre phone app didn't lag so much.

I kid, I kid ...

A couple years ago I pretty much stopped answering my phone. I didn't text message very much either until just this past year. Basically, owning a phone was useless for me. But now I've got a Pre with access to all these alternative options for communication and so am able to stay connected with people while rarely having to hear their voice.


Well, I dont talk alot either...but that because my battery life sucks!

Seriously tho, If its not work or home its probably 15 minutes max a month.

I'm on Sprint and since it's free mobile to mobile for the past 3 months I used 0 of my anytime minutes. But I Still talk on it everyday for about 2 hours with my girl.

if what you suggest about talking on the phone is true, then why is everyone so concerned about video chat? if people are holding their phones to their ears less and less citing invasiveness concerns or other formalities, then it would twice as bad if you were also on video holding the phone in front of your face.

i predict the front-facing camera on the evo and the un-announced iphone will get even less use than the phone app.

I agree. I think it's a really cool niche feature but I'm hard pressed to think of a reason that I (or most of the people in my circle) would ever use it as more than a once in a while novelty. I can see it being more useful for long distance friendships or relationships if you want to see each other's faces once in a while.. but for normal every day use, it doesn't seem that compelling to me.

I use between 4 and 10 mins per month on my sprint plan.

Use mine for business so almost 600 Min a month still. I'm an old guy an hate text, don't see the point when I can easily call you. Text very little and very little data.

I hate having to buy mints, I don't talk on the phone much all.

as of this morning I've used 8 minutes and close to 2 gigs of data. And over 2300 text messages. I have 12 days left in this billing cycle.

since getting my Pre and separating from my wife, my phone conversations have all but gone extinct.

Great everyone! Lets all encourage Sprint to charge everyone based on what we use the most, DATA. Go on, keep telling them why we should no longer have unlimited data plans!

...and with Sprint being the company to "predict" how we will be billed for our mobile phones, I am not surprised, being the biggest money whores (related to bank of america?) that they are.

But I apologize for the interruption, I'll let you guys continue feeding the monsters, haha


somebodies a little conspiricy theory happy.

Verizon is the worst when it comes to being money whores. I've been with Sprint since 2000 and in all these years I have only had a couple bill issues and plan issues.

to me that's a good track record. I have had friends or knew people that had bill issues but when I talked to them more about their crazy bill bottom line was they were just being careless and trying to use Sprint as a scape goat for their lack of time and money management skills.

Speaking of Sprint and extra costs. All the Evo people are going to get some suprises. All these people been so horny over EVO posting on here that they're gonna realize it's 200.00 AFTER mail in rebate(unless you go to the blue shirts) 10.00 extra if you want 4G (come on it's new technology I think we seen that coming) oh and if you want to use it as a WiFi hot spot and tether yup that will be an additional 30.00.

I have used a LOT of minutes each month. My wife's family is all out of state and she likes to keep in touch, and a phone call is much more personal and easy than a ton of snippet emails.

A lot of my work is still voice over phone, so I would suggest in my case that 50% of use is voice and 50% is everything else.

I have to make a serious effort to make a dent in my 450 regular minutes. I do talk to my mother on the phone a few times a week and occasionally I'll chat with a buddy of mine who lives on the other side of the state for an hour on my commute home, but that uses the unlimited cell-to-cell and doesn't count. Other than that it's texting. I usually rack up 1000 or more sms messages in a month.

I have a 1500 minute/month limit. I always use 1200+ minutes/month.

I still use phone about the same, but my texting, internet use has gone way up as well as forwarding photos, videos, etc. Some of my contacts--older family members--still don't text so phone is a necessity to communicate w/them some times.

I don't understand how people DON'T talk! A ton of my friends only have a 300 minute or less plan on their iPhones and never get overages. I really wish I could be like that, my phone bill would be so much lower. Granted its my only phone and I run my business from my Pixi - but I use over 2200 minutes a month.

Ditto. I am kinda amazed that people say they use their phone for work and don't use the minutes. I can only assume that means that they *really* use their desk phone and only use their cell when away from their desk. I primarily use my cell and I was on the phone just yesterday for over 3 hours on con calls. I probably put 1500 minutes easy.

I was walking down the street yesterday and two guys passed me, one after the other, and I recall thinking it was strange that they were both talking on cell phones, and both had them up to their ear. I realized that I almost NEVER talk on mine, and when I do, it's usually on speaker.

For having a Sprint, single line 450 minute plan, in a "busy" month I might use 120 minutes, and that was before the free to other mobiles any network.

Unfortunately, I have too many cheapskate family members that are afraid to get cell phones or only use prepaid so freak out when I make them use their minutes outside of their free nights and weekends. I'm sure I'm not the only one with family like that.

It's True

I use my phone to talk tons. The only reason I don't ever go over my minutes is because I have free incoming calls and free calls to any mobile with Sprint. But I usually talk several hours per day on my phone.

I actually hate having text conversations. If what's gonna be said is gonna take more than a few messages to convey, I just open up my phone app and call the person. But that's just a matter of preference.

Minutes Used 193
SMS Used 301
Data Used 795,528

My Fianc

I talk once or twice a month

Yes absolutely! I use about 1,000 minutes a month plus all the cell to cell calls. I manage a nationwide sales team, and while SMS & email play a very important part in everyday communication, voice communicates emotion clearly.

Sprint allows me to download all the call details into a spreadsheet. I have been doing this ever since I've been a sprint customer. I have a monthly routine where I go get the call details and load them into a database, so that I can see interesting things like answer (precisely) how much I, in fact, use the voice part of my plan.

Over the past 7 months, I've used an average of 43 minutes of our 1500 shared anytime minutes. My wife, over that same time, has used an average of 261 minutes. So it looks like I don't use the phone for that much voice.

But I do. If you count all the minutes in total, it's a different story.

My average: 568 mins = 9.5 hrs / month
My wife's: 1220 mins = 20.3 hrs / month

Put another way, over 92% of my voice usage, and nearly 80% of my wife's voice usage, is included for free by Sprint,

I average about 600 minutes per month
My wife averages around 1600 per month.
I use an average of 800MB per month.
Wife basically nothing.
I do about 100 messages per month.
Wife none.
I use my phone for mostly business because I have no friends or family and frankly I hate talking on the phone. Every one wants to update there schedules over the phone. Hello that is what email is for. It's not like I can tell my customers to email me. No I can and I have but they don't listen which is odd considering they are on the phone.
Lots of Pandora and PodCast.
I really do not know how I do 800MB per month of data. I can not image I have more than 20 real emails a day. Guess music adds up fast.

This is a very interesting question. I think with the ability to keep in touch with friends so instantly via social networks like Facebook in our phones, I bet there is a significant amount of people who talk less and less with people on their phones. I use my Pre frequently to check the differents websites/forums I go to, keep up with my Facebook/Twitter friends, check and send almost all my emails and communicate with most of my friends via SMS. I think people in general have gotten so busy that it's just easier to communicate via means that are more convenient and perhaps more comfortable for everyone involved.

But there is a downside to it, I think this can have a dehumanising effect on people. They may still socialise with others in real life but IMO being able to talk to a real person on the other hand is still a vital aspect of socialising in this age of technology. When we lose, or neglect that ability to speak to our friends and family via phone and instead do it mostly via emails/Facebook/sms and other means of textual communication, I think it can have an adverse effect on our social and communication capacity in the long run. But that's just my theory.

Wait until you get really painful carpal tunnel, tendonitis, and other CTD maladies. Suddenly the telephone - with voice command and a headset - will be very useful.

yeah but data based phone calls require so little actual bandwidth that if they had data only plans they'd take a significant hit in monthly fees. I remember a website used to meter how many kilobytes skype uses for a data only based call and 20-30 minutes took only a few megabytes.. with 5gb a month at 30 dollars you could talk all day.

I think talking to people is communicating to someone. Texting to someone is not the same thing. Saying I hate you in a text versus a voice call is so different. How can you judge how the other person sounds from a text? It's just not possible. The bandwagon everyone is on is texting everyone. Everyone has a choice. Oh, I'm not cool cause I don't text like you, who cares? Be yourself. Is everyone a follower these days? The reality is everyone thinks they should text to be cool. Don't write letters, Don't call anyone, Just text 'em. How unsocial of a society have we become... oh and you don't want to be bothered by a phone call??? Then don't have friends!!! I'm done. Said my peace. Love the PreCentral. P.S. I wish Palm or Palm/HP would fix the screen fading out the phone when I touch a button on a call!!!!!!!!!!!

I agree with AbsolutJ

Minutes: 5,000-7,000 per month (yes, this is correct)
Texts: 1,000 sent/received
Data: 1,500,000

I much prefer texting to talking. However, I do still make phone calls for things that require more in-depth discussion, or to people who will never have e-mail or text, like my mother.

I measure the change less by amount of actual volume of talking on the phone, than by amount of people I talk with. I used to talk to everyone. Now, I probably only "talk" to my wife, immediate family, and closest friends. Everyone else, it's texting and Facebook.

My phone's overall usage is devoted to web surfing, by miles...

10 Reasons to Avoid Talking on the Phone:

I never liked talking on the phone, even in the days of landlines.

I'll usually text back a person rather than call.