Americans Turn To Their Phones For Gaming And Internet

A report from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project shows an increasing number of Americans using their mobile phones as personal computers, with substantial leaps in gaming, internet use, and other non-voice applications over the past year.

Playing a video game on your mobile phone might seem silly to a hardcore PC or console gamer, but for the average American, it's quickly becoming a commonplace occurrence. Last year 27% of Americans claimed to regularly play video games on their mobile phones.

This year the number has risen to 34%.

It might not seem like a substantial increase to some, but compared to the 34% (up 9%) who use their phones to send and receive email, the 33% who play music on their phones (up 12%), or the 30% who utilize instant messaging services (up 10%), the numbers are pretty big.

In fact, the only PC-like activities mobile phone owners engage in more than playing games and talking on the phone are taking pictures (76%), text message (72%), and access the internet (38%).

The numbers are even more impressive when you narrow the study to the 18-29 year-old users. In that age group, 60% use the phone to game or record video, 65% access the internet, and 95% send text messages.

Pew surveyed 2,252 adults between April 29 and May 30 about their usage of mobile phones and other internet-ready PC alternatives.

"Cell phones have become for many owners an all-purpose chat-text-gaming-photo-sharing media hub that is an essential utility for work and a really fancy toy for fun," said Aaron Smith, Pew research specialist and author of the report, "Mobile Access 2010."

The report also found that of the 42% of Americans surveyed that owned a video game console, 29% used them to access the internet, a number that's more significant when you realize the Xbox 360 doesn't have this capability.

While the mobile phone may never usurp the home computer or laptop when it comes to writing blog posts about mobile phones, there are plenty of other areas where cell phones continue to excel.

It's only a matter of time before we start implanting these things in our skulls. I'll be first in line.

Americans use phones more for games, Internet [MSNBC]