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Texting, taking pics are most popular cell phone uses

Using smartphones for online banking and downloading apps lags behind, Pew Research survey finds

More American adults use their smartphones and other cell phones to take pictures and to send texts than to download apps or do online banking, according to a Pew Research survey.

The study, released Sunday, found that 82% of Americans use cell phones to take pictures, while 80% use them to send or receive text messages. Only 29% use the devices to check bank balances, while 43% download apps and 44% record video.

Use of all cell phones for accessing the Internet and email accounts fell in the middle. Fifty-six percent of respondents use cell phones to access the Internet, and 50% use them to send or receive email.

The new Pew Research Center Internet and American Life Project is based on two surveys, one conducted in the spring of 2012 and the other during the summer.

The latest survey includes the responses of 2,581 cell phone owners ages 18 or older. The earlier survey contacted 1,954 cell phone owning adults. The margin of error is 2.6 percentage points.

Along with mobile banking, the survey found that use of cell phones to obtain health information was relatively low, at 31%.

The survey found that 85% of American adults own a cell phone.

Young adults, and higher income and more highly educated adults are more likely to have performed several of the activities that were measured in the survey.

Virtually all of the adults from ages 18-29 use cell phones to text. That age group is also the largest user of cell phones to take pictures, use the mobile Internet, use cell phone emailing, download apps and record video on cell phones, the survey found.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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