Americans Have Love/Hate Relationship With Cell Phones - InformationWeek

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Americans Have Love/Hate Relationship With Cell Phones

We love mobile phones for their convenience and ability to kill time, but dislike the gadgets for the interruptions and cost.

Americans love mobile phones for their convenience and ability to kill time, but dislike the gadgets for the interruptions, public annoyances and the sometimes-hefty monthly bills they bring, a study released Monday showed.

Handsets have become an integral, and sometimes life-saving communication tool, as fully 74 percent of mobile phone users say they have used the devices in an emergency, the study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, the Associated Press and AOL showed.

The gadgets have also become a way to fill time for many Americans. More than four in 10 people surveyed said they make calls to kill time, but 44 percent said they wait to make most of their calls during hours that do not count against the minutes in their basic calling plan.

There are, however, several negatives associated with the popular gizmos. More than a quarter of handset owners admit not driving as safely as they should while using the devices, with men more likely than women to confess to the bad behavior on the road.

Whether you're a cell-phone user or not, it's likely you've been annoyed by the sometimes intrusive devices. More than eight in 10 Americans reported at least occasionally being irritated by others conducting calls in public places. Nearly one in 10 people admit to having drawn criticism or irritated stares while using their phones in public.

For some people, the phone has become such an important tool that they lose track of the cost of constant use. Some 36 percent of respondents in the survey said they have been occasionally shocked at the size of their monthly bills.

Nearly half the cell-phone users in the study said they would like to add maps to the phones, topping the list of desired features. Others included receiving instant messages from select friends, email, and searching for services such as movie listings, weather reports and stock quotes.

Nearly one in five mobile phone users said they would like to add the ability to take still pictures.

The findings were based on a national survey of 1,503 people, including 1,286 mobile-phone users.

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