back to article Jaw-jaw no more-more as calls fall down tally of phone tasks

You think phones are for making calls? No longer, if a poll conducted by O2 is anything to go by. Talking to people is not even in the top three activities folk spend most time doing on their handsets. Top of the list, with a daily usage time of 24.81 minutes, is web browsing. Social networking comes in at number two; 17.49 …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is still something to be said for the simplicity of a phone that only makes calls.

    That would be pure, without the distractions of everything else.

    1. Anomynous Coward

      "There is still something to be said for the simplicity of a phone that only makes calls."

      Yes, and that is "What do you mean I can't send a text?"

    2. William Towle

      There is still something to be said for the simplicity of a phone that only makes calls.

      Reminds me of the Stroustrup quote, "I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone."


  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd say "personal digital assistant", but that got taken already.

    1. M Gale

      Actually... "smartphones" used to be called "MDAs" before a certain fruity company decided they invented the concept.

      Mobile Digital Assistant.

      Doesn't really roll off the tongue as easily as "phone" though, so phone it is.

  3. dotdavid

    "Maybe it's finally time to stop calling the darn things 'telephones'. Any suggestions for a more appropriate moniker, folks?"

    How about 'mobes'?


    1. Anonymous Coward 15


  4. Ben Tasker Silver badge

    Useless Study

    It doesn't give interesting enough stats, why not include the obvious

    50% of people are smart arses - When asked "What do you use your phone for" 1/2 of respondents replied Duh, Making calls

    25% of people are idiots - 1/4 of respondents admitted they carry it to look good, but haven't sussed turning the damn thing on.

    25% of people have no friends - 1/4 of respondents said they'd never received a call on their phone

    10% can't write - 1/10th of respondents submitted answers in txt spk.

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  5. Gord


    not a laptop but a palm top so call it a pop or patop or plop or poop

    mobile device so call it a mice or mobice or mobe

    everybody thinks they need one ('cause everyone else has one), they are sheep, therefore call it baa-baa

    large corporations are robbing us blind, therefore call it crap

    all above ideas are copywrited, El Reg may use with approval

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: monikers

      Presumably you also mock those with running water and toilets as 'sheep', unable to resist the latest idiots' fad? Everyone else has them, so everyone else thinks they need them! What possible ise have they, anyway?

      My shit doesn't stink; what do I need a toilet for?

      And don't even mention electricity! Damnable large corporations and their charging for every last watt-hour we use! Ripping us off, and for what? Some worthless affectation we only use to look good for the neightbors! I mean, why else would -everyone- be using it, when we know most people are fools?

  6. John H Woods

    The Germans already have ...

    "Handy". I've also heard "Smartie". Both of these seem a bit infantile.

    Increasingly my kids refer to tablets and phones - at least the ones that can't be called iPads, iPhones, or Blackberrys - as 'droids, which sounds a little better to my ears. But I think El Reg got there first with 'Slab'.

  7. Paul Shirley

    seems I'm less extreme than I thought ;)

    I'll carry on calling mine a mobile.

    Mobile phone. Sometimes

    Mobile game console. Every day.

    Mobile browser. Oh yes.

    It took 8 months to receive the 1st call on my first mobile, 11 before I made a call. Sent hundreds of texts along the way. It actually did more service as an alarm clock/watch than a phone. Current smartphone averages less than 5min/month. Sometimes zero. Email wiped out my phone use long before mobiles became popular and nothings really changed, don't even clock up more than 15min of the fixed line in a busy month.

    1. Silverburn

      Re: seems I'm less extreme than I thought ;)'ve got no friends then..?

  8. John A Blackley

    Any suggestions?

    Toys for the weak-brained?

  9. Captain DaFt

    Obvious, innit?

    (Standing by door, ready to sprint)

    Since the can store, playback and record text, audio and graphics, why not call them... Tricorders.

    (And he's off like a shot)

  10. Homer 1

    Or even more obviously...

    They're just mobile computers, so why not call them... mobile computers, or just "mobiles" for short?

    That's what everyone already calls them anyway.

  11. Rambler88

    >> Any suggestions for a more appropriate moniker, folks?

    I'm fine with "fondleslab". "Mobile" will do. I won't strain your censors with my suggestions. I've been waiting for a long time for some marketing genius to come out with a mobile . . . "telephone".

    Important niche market that. Just as a lot of businesses--well, all of them--depend on, and spend lots of money on, computer functionality that requires a keyboard and a large screen, they also rely a lot on voice communications. You know, businesses--the same market that supports a little company called IBM.

  12. Syed

    I'd call them...

    ...personal computers -- because they are.

  13. Zack Mollusc

    Calls are obsolete

    I have just about given up on voice calls, they only get you through to a voicemail which is never answered. Incoming voice calls are invariably idiots trying to sell crap.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Still talking

    As the article says, voice calls are falling down the list. What it doesn't say is that daily mobile voice calls doubled in volume between 2005 and 2010, and to judge by the overly exact numbers quoted from O2 appear to be steady now at 12-13 minutes a day.

    The reality is that modern phones do more than older ones, and unremarkably people use those capabilities. So (despite the abhorrence of some of the commentards) Joe Public is getting more out of the device they carry. Admittedly there's a trade off particularly in battery life, but that's a choice you make.

    For those piteous voices demanding basic, functionality-free voice phones, there's more than a few on sale, so help yourselves. Maybe the Alcatel 209 fits the bill? A bit fancy for you, what with its FM radio, and the heroic "fake call" button, but no camera, no internet etc.

  15. Bryn Evans

    Dummies for Dimbos

    The way my family behaves with them, we call them Dummies (the 'phones that is !)

    Also, I don't think that a lot of the users realise that the "Mobile" part of the name refers

    to the ability of the 'phone and is not user instruction to keep walking about!

  16. adamskib

    Not suggested already?

    I was going to suggest Communicator, or comm for short.

    However, I agree "mobile" does the job. It would also cover any new capabilities of things you carry around with you such as medical tracking, telescopes and magnifiers, building entry, car entry, digital money, digital store cards, rape alarms, makeup and scent dispensing (see fifth element), writing/printing, cutting things, filing, ID for cops/bouncers/border agencies, rulers/tape measures... etc. Food, drink and contraception may be a stretch, but the word "mobile" covers it all.

  17. Anonymous Coward


    As most people feel they are up shit creek without it.

  18. Anonymous Coward


    ...And here I thought that facebook -was- a web site. I guess I need to re-evaluate my understanding of the basic architecture of the internet - apparently, technical descriptions of functionality are now determined retroactively by abstract end-user experience.

    Ok, I'm going to go use my computer, and after I'm done using the computer I'lll use photoshop.

  19. Curtis

    I seem to recall Danger referring to their as the "HipTop" before TMobile renamed it and that always seemed like a proper name to me, a Hip Top computer.

  20. phr0g


    "Minitel" will be available kind of soon. Sounds good to me.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Is it just me, or are a good chunk of people here falling all over themselves to declare how much they detest cell phones, presumably mainly because other people like then?

    I can only think this is the same phenomenon as people straining to emphasize how much they revile any music which some critical mass of other people like. Same with movies.

    "Other people are stupid. Stupid people like stupid things. Therefore, I must not like anything which is popular. Separating myself (smart) from others (idiots) will raise my reputation in the eyes of my fellow misanthropes, thereby making me popular among them. This is essential, since they themselves (being arrogant and sanctimonious) are popular by dint of -not- being popular with the world in general.

    The more things I hate, the cooler I am, since by definition I am cooler than someone who likes something; he has by definition joined -a group-, which is proof of stupidity. If I hate everything, my utter disdain for the entire world makes me the coolest person among those cool enough to hate things the -sheeple- (ie, people who agree with a lot of people about anything) like.

    This is neccesary because nobody else can stand to be around me.

    1. AceRimmer

      You just wrote the definition of a hipster... the only difference being that they all own iphones to "Think Different"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just you

      It's just you. I believe that Americans who took one college course in psychology call it projecting.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just you

        As a fan of Dutch trance music, Angry Birds, Hollywood blockbuster action films, and cell phones with lots of features, I don't think my accusations are a cover for a personal antipathy for the popular.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Just you

          "As a fan of Dutch trance music, Angry Birds, Hollywood blockbuster action films, and cell phones with lots of features, I don't think my accusations are a cover for a personal antipathy for the popular."

          You know, I really wonder what about that deserves a thumbs-down. Am I accused of lying? Or is it for liking Angry Birds and Dutch trance music?

          This place is so strange...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bar graphs. Give 'em a try, just this once.

    Or are you too busy using your 'padlet' ?

  23. John Burton


    They should continue to be called phones. The meaning of telephone has simply evolved...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


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