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Tech Trends: The 2 Main Types Of Smart Phone Users

Updated on July 16, 2011

Many different people use smart phones in their daily lives. Smart phones are convenient, powerful, and capable. Most of us use them for simple tasks like making phone calls, text messaging, and email. We also use them for more advanced tasks like web browsing, gaming, listening to music, and GPS navigation. Smart phones are getting more powerful each day. As this happen, their target demographic starts to broaden. There are many different types of smart phones and their users vary equally in what they want out of their cell phones and what they need. Most people fall in between but there are 2 main type of personalties that polarize smart phone users. Those that consume media and those that use it productively.

If you own a smart phone, you've probably used it for both. However, lets look at these two different user types and discuss the pros and cons of each.


Consumers make up the majority of smart phone users. Or rather, most people use their smart phones to consume media. When I say media, I mean listening to music, playing games, or doing time-sinking tasks like browsing Facebook and other social networks. Consumers are a major driving force in the smart phone market. Having access to the Internet on our smart phones means we can get information instantly. Consumers can directly purchase apps, good, and services from their phones. Owning a smart phone gives consumers a direct advantage. It allows them to complete the buying process faster. Consumers can also use their cell phones to locate stores and find deals. This means that owning a smart phone can have an indirect impact on businesses and the economy. For example, If it was getting late and I was on the road, I would probably pass the opportunity to go to the store and wait another day. With a smart phone, whenever I am unsure, I can just search for store hours and locations. I can even use the phone's GPS and get driving directions. It may seem insignificant but owning that smart phone allowed me to go to the store and make a purchase. If I didn't have one, I probably wouldn't have made the purchase.


"Smart phones makes it easier to spend money"

In the long run, it also means less money in our pockets. Not only are smart phone plans expensive, but this spending lifestyle favors people with lots of disposable income. Most people don't usually have wads of cash under their mattresses. If you are living off a limited income, owning a smart phone is like owning an SUV in the era of $4/gallon gas. Yeah, you can do it but is it smart? Smart phones makes it easier to spend money. Not just with spending money in the real world but also the virtual world. Now this is not necessarily a bad thing but it's easy to forget how many songs you've downloaded via iTunes or Amazon. Google's Android Marketplace, Apple's App Store, and BlackBerry's App World also makes it easy to download free and paid apps. It's easy to see why most smart phone users are consumers. It's much more difficult to fight impulse purchases when smart phones make it so easy. If I wanted to purchase an MP3 player, I would have to drive to the store. On a smart phone, it's much more convenient. Like a computer, I can just search for the product and make my purchase easily. A few clicks and I'll have my MP3 player shipped to my door in a few days. I can do even better. I can search for a specific song and download a 99 cent MP3. They make it so easy. No wonder Amazon and eBay all have apps on each platform. It's convenient to shop on your phone.


The opposite of the consumer is the producer. These people use their smart phones to make money. This small group consist of businessmen, developers, and other professionals. They are about the exact opposite of consumers. They use their smart phones as a tool to make money, connect with people professionally, and save time in their busy lives. Replying to important emails in a timely manner is more important than updating their Twitter account. This type of user is what I like to call the “Professional”. He is always thinking about money. He is always looking for an edge. A way to save time and money. App developers need to use smart phones in order to test software and fix bugs. Professionals, like lawyers and doctors have important clients in their contacts and a good communications device is more important than a cool phone that plays games. These smart phone users also tend to be more organized. They favor a robust calender app over games. Most producers/professionals tend to be older. 25+ years old.

"...slaves to their work."

While production oriented smart phone users tend to be more career oriented, they also may have more stress. Some professionals feel that owning a smart phone is liberating while others tend to feel like slaves to their work. This can mean more stress for this demographic compared to consumer oriented smart phone users. Another possible source of stress for production oriented smart phone users is the pressure to stay “on call” all the time. Lots of time and comfort is sacrificed in order to make money. This means using your smart phone can have an effect on you sleep and personal life. In comparison to consumer oriented users, a smart phone becomes a part of their personal life much like an MP3 player. For production oriented smart phone users, owning a smart phone is a part of their professional career. Sometimes, this line is blurred. It often ends up having a negative effect with family and friends.

Meeting In The Middle

Most users are not extremes of either sides. Most people fall somewhere in between. Probably more closer to consumers than professional oriented users. Professional smart phone users may use their devices to play music while consumer oriented users may connect their professional relationships through a “work contacts” folder. It is far too easy to mix business with pleasure. Many people check their Facebook accounts on the job and we often hear stories about people losing their job over the information they post.

Smart Phones, Dumb People?

Smart phones are supposed to make our lives easier. But here we are looking at both sides. Consumer oriented users are broke while professionally oriented users are stressed out. It's important to nullify the negatives of both sides in order to find an acceptable median. If you lean more towards a consumer, practice controlling your impulses. Online retailers make fortunes exploiting your impulse purchases. Consider becoming a bargain shopper. Compare prices online before you hit the “buy” button. If you're going to spend money, a least spend it wisely. If you are a professional user, learn when to shut off your phone. When you are out of work, take some time to relax. Part of working hard means having some time to enjoy your personal life. If you are constantly checking your phone or religiously replying to all your emails after hours, just stop. Having some self control is an example of professionalism. If you are constantly taking calls in front of family and friends, not only is it rude, it's unprofessional. It's also counter-productive.

Final Thoughts

If you are a smart phone user, you've probably understand all of this by now. New users are often overwhelmed by the features of owning such an advanced device. Ever so often, I read comments or articles saying how smart phones are making people dumb. I disagree. Owning a smart phone is a relatively new experience. Managing it is a skill. Like all skills, you need to learn and practice them in order to use the tool effectively. Smart phone management is an evolution of cell phone management. Just a bit more features and things to learn. If we can learn to manage our lives with pager, we can manage cell phones. Likewise, if we can manage cell phones, we can manage smart phones. Although I realize there are variations, I've broken down the 2 basic types of smart phone users. What other types can you name?

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    • profile image

      sky60148 6 years ago

      I'v been a smart phone user for almost 4 months now. I see what this author means about using a smart phone as a new learning experience or skill. I use texting and e-mails to keep up with my monthly rent and car payments, use google maps to compliment my hard copy of a street atlas for help find alternate routes to work, and even managed to help others find important services around their local area. Sometimes I even tell my sister how I miss her. (by text only).

    • Adroit Alien profile image

      Adroit Alien 6 years ago

      Gunjan, some people feel like the "need" the latest and greatest to make them feel better than others. This is an example of someone having a superior tool and not using it. What good is a smart phone if you don't use it to its potential?

    • profile image

      gunjan kumbhare 6 years ago

      i have a friend of mine who always flaunt his nokia his is the most costliest phone in our group.....wat he does with it

      1: he does not have even a buck in it to make a call...while our phone with just basics features can make a call

      2: he says advantage of a smartphone is that u can even program things....which he doesnt know himself...

      3: no internet on go....

      does he have any use of a smart phone?

      i think no...

    • The Smiling Man profile image

      The Smiling Man 6 years ago from USA

      "Ooh! check out this app! It's a rag doll I can toss around!"

      Most smart phone users are dumb people.