In a recent article for CNN online (see references below) Amy Gahran, a special technical correspondent for CNN, reports on the misconception held by many Americans regarding the degree to which smartphones have penetrated the cell phone or PDA market in this country. She writes that according to Forrester Research, only 17 percent of Americans in this country have a smartphone, compared to 82 percent of people who have a regular old cell phone.
And according to Bernstein Research, just over 8.25 million iPads have been sold, which is roughly 2.75 percent of the whole population.
And according to industry insiders the total number of people using e-book readers is something like a little over a million people, which is in the neighborhood of about . 3 percent of the entire population.
And though you’d never know it by the way things are shown on television, in the movies and in other media, just over twenty percent of the people in this country still don’t even have Internet access, much less all the other stuff that goes along with it. That’s somewhere in the neighborhood of sixty million American that have no access to the Internet at all. Hard to believe, but true.
So what gives, why does it seem like the Internet, smart phones, wireless technology and all the other trappings of the computer/digital age are omnipresent, when in fact they are not?
It appears there are two reasons for this, the first is that the media has a general tendency to make everything sound more exciting and to present it as a bigger deal than it really is. Also, when you consider how closely the entertainment industry is now to the technology industry, it isn’t hard to imagine that at least some of the way technical gadgets is portrayed it is intentional. Consider that GE is in the process of selling NBC entertainment to Comcast, or that Sony has a big stake in both technical gadgets and moviemaking.
On the other side of the coin, you have to consider the actual human beings that live in our country. Some are rich, some poor, some are old, some young; and there are people from virtually every part of the planet living here. In short, there’s a lot of diversity, which is sort of one of the things we’re known for. When you take into consideration the people that can’t afford a smart phone, or aren’t’ willing to part with hard earned cash for something that isn’t really necessary, the people that don’t care about technological gizmos, the older people who don’t really even pay much attention to what is going on, and others who for reasons of their own, choose to not be a part of the great technical rush of this century, it all begins to make sense. The fact is, there just aren’t nearly as many people rushing out to buy all these so-called fancy electronic gadgets as we’ve all been made to believe through the constant onslaught of television commercials and the overabundance of these devices on the television shows and movies we watch.