Study: People use mobile primarily to check email

Research from the Pew Research Center found that of all activity people use tablets and smartphones for, the old workhorse of email is still the most widely used. But the uses are changing.

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Specifically, they still really like email.

In a survey of nearly 10,000 adults, 65 percent of those who own tablets and 80 percent who have smartphones used their devices to check email at least once a week. Email outranked every other activity Pew researchers asked about, with news ranking second, followed by gaming and social media.

Social media fared a little better among smartphone users, where it tied checking the news for second. Among tablet users, it was fourth. Reading books, watching movies, shopping and reading magazines rounded out the list.

Shel Holtz of Holtz Communication + Technology says the Pew research lines up pretty well with other data he’s seen about email use on tablets and smartphones. Any forecast of email’s demise is premature, the data show. But, Holtz says, email has come to serve a different purpose these days.

“Twitter, Facebook, and other channels have become preferred means for engaging directly with individuals and groups of people,” he says. “Social channels are more efficient, provide more flexibility and features, and, most important, it doesn’t lock information in the dark recesses of siloed email inboxes.”

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