Saturday 20 January 2018

It's phones for internet and tv as laptops increasingly shunned

iPhone 6 models.
iPhone 6 models.
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

IRISH people are gradually replacing laptops and tablets with phones for internet use, social media and watching television.

New figures from global web firm Statcounter show a 21pc swing in Irish usage from PCs to smartphones over the last 12 months as people increasingly default to their phones for the majority of their non-work internet usage.

A quarter of all Irish web activity now comes from mobile phones, almost twice the figure recorded at the same time last year.

Meanwhile, the amount of web traffic from laptops and desktop PCs has shrunk from 76pc to 64pc in the same period. Use of tablets for internet use remains low at 11pc, just 3pc more than a year ago.

The figures suggest that mobile phones are set to overtake laptops, desktops and tablet computers as our primary internet devices in 2016. Last Friday, Apple’s first large screen ‘phablet’, the iPhone 6, went on sale in Ireland.

The industry figures are backed up by a major new household survey in Ireland which shows that twice as many people here now watch television on their phones as on desktop PCs.

The survey, conducted among 1,150 households by Behaviour & Attitudes on behalf of Eircom, shows that half of those aged between 16 and 24 watch TV programmes “on a portable device”. However, one in ten Irish people say they watch television on phones, equalling our use of tablets for the same function and more than twice the number watching television on desktop computers.

The household survey shows that use of tablets has almost doubled in Ireland over the last 12 months, with 41pc of Irish households now claiming to have a tablet in the house.

However, this may be bulked up by the device’s common use as a games-related toy or second screen for kids. The survey did not record the incidence of handheld video game devices such as Gameboy consoles, which have declined rapidly in Irish homes in the last two years.

In terms of new technology trends, a majority of Irish people (51pc) claim to like the idea of ‘wearable tech’ such as ‘smart’ glasses and watches.

And there’s good news for Apple with the finding that three quarters of Irish people think paying for things using a swipe of your mobile phone is a good thing and a feature they wish to have. Two weeks ago, Apple announced it was launching a new payment system, Apple Pay, that will allow phones to be used as mobile wallets in ordinary shops that have contactless payments terminals.

However, people are more divided on driverless cars. 44pc say they think driverless cars are a good thing, with 30pc saying they’re a bad thing. 20pc are on the fence, saying they could be both ‘good’ and ‘bad’.

And Irish people have a largely negative view of “lifelike robots” being used in primary healthcare. 53pc say that it would be a bad thing to start using robots as caregivers “for an elderly relative or a person in poor health”, with just 23pc saying it might be a change for the better.

But robots are not all bad news. When asked whether “lifelike robots” would be a positive or negative development for helping us out at home, 53pc of us said that it would be a “change for the better”, with just 25pc saying it would be “for the worse”.

The household survey found that while 66pc of Irish adults use social media, 93pc of those between 16-24 use Facebook. It also found that 60pc of Irish young people use Snapchat. 31pc claimed to use Skype for family and friends.

Meanwhile, 20pc of us use Netflix or “other on-demand” television services, while 26pc “download, stream or watch movies online”. This indicates that the gap between legal “on demand” viewing and illegal “downloading” might be growing, with legal services extending their dominance over illegal ones.

Regionally, Galwegians are the country’s biggest technology optimists, with 83pc saying that it will change things for the better and 80pc believing that driverless cars will happen.

Cork residents are the country’s biggest Linkedin users with 21pc of adults living there using the services. This is almost half as high as the survey’s average usage figure of 14pc.

Limerick has the lowest regional daily internet use, at just 60pc of Irish adults. This compares to 73pc for Limerick and 70pc for Cork.

However, the household survey concludes that there is little respite from work for Irish adults, with 42pc saying that they access work email at home.

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