O2 study: smartphones are the 21st century's Swiss army knife

A recent report by O2 dubbed 'All About You' has found that browsing the Internet is the most popular user activity on smartphones.

With the average owner of an intelligent mobile device spending roughly two hours a day interacting with their phone, surfing the web consumes nearly 25 minutes of that time while social networking – another Internet-based, connectivity-powered activity – takes up around 17 minutes.

Traditional functions like making calls and sending texts lag well behind with figures of 12 and 10 minutes respectively, while photography takes up only 3 minutes of a typical smartphone owner's daily hands-on time, likely due to the inherently quick nature of snapping a picture.

David Johnson, General Manager for Devices for O2 in the UK, likened smartphones and their use to all-in-one survival tools.

"Smartphones are now being used like a digital 'Swiss Army Knife,' replacing possessions like watches, cameras, books, and even laptops. While we're seeing no let-up in the number of calls customers make or the amount of time they spend speaking on their phones, their phone now plays a far greater role in all aspects of their lives," he said.

Using an alternative method of data correlation, the survey also reveals that over half of smartphone users (54 per cent of participants) use their phones as an alarm clock, while 46 per cent have done away with their watch in favour of a padded pocket.

Findings for the future include a growing number of people using their mobile device in place of a TV, with six per cent reporting to have made the entertainment swap – the same amount who have dispensed with physical books in favour of reading exclusively on their smartphone.

O2 did not offer up the total number of survey participants in its press release.