Prague, Czech Republic – This is being heralded as the smartphone age. It’s now more common to have a smartphone than to wear a wristwatch, and in Western Europe, smartphone penetration stands at more than 85%. Central and Eastern European countries are not far behind, and according to data from Statista, penetration in the Czech Republic is now at well over two thirds of the population.
That’s well and good, but it begs the question of what we are using our smartphone for. Does their popularity mean we spend all day chatting on the phone? We all know that’s not the case. Here are five smartphone uses that all rank higher than making telephone calls, in the Czech Republic and beyond.
It would come as some consolation to Alexander Graham Bell to know that the 21st century descendant of his invention is at least still used for communication above all else. In the pre-smartphone era, it was all about SMS messaging, and while these are still popular, web-based messaging apps like WhatsApp are rapidly overtaking them, as there are no per-message fees and the apps have better flexibility for sending media such as pictures or voice and video messages. A local study a few years ago found that WhatsApp and Messenger were Czechs’ two favourite means of digital communication.
Facebook and Twitter remain the runaway favourites as far as social media platforms are concerned. In fact, it is estimated that a third of the world’s population uses Facebook. It’s a fallacy to think that social media is just for millennials. That might have been true a few years ago, but today it is used by people of all ages, and mobile is by far the most popular way to access the platform. According to Eurostat, around 60% of the Czech population uses social media on a regular basis.
What use is a smartphone without apps? The average user in the Czech Republic has 80 apps installed on his or her handset. Games constitute the most popular category by far – in fact, more games are downloaded than the second and third most popular categories put together. Again, it would be wrong to assume games are just for youngsters. In fact, some genres like the real-money casino platforms are specifically aimed at adult-only audiences.
A decade ago, browsing the web on a mobile device was a torturous affair, with poor-quality rendering and painfully slow page opening times. With today’s smartphones, however, there’s no performance difference. In fact, sales of PCs and laptops are dwindling in the Czech Republic, as more casual users realise that websites taking a “mobile first” philosophy means that they can afford to go “mobile only.”
Cameras are heading towards obsolescence in the Czech Republic at an even faster rate than cumbersome PCs. Every smartphone has a camera of some sort, and even the most basic ones are of a quality that is at least as good as the digital cameras that were on sale before smartphones became the norm. Having the means to photograph anything and everything and instantly share the images has changed the way we view the world, for better or worse.