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04 Aug 2011

One in three adults in the UK now uses a smartphone, according to a report by the telecoms regulator Ofcom.

Apple's iPhone was said to be the most popular brand. However, teenagers appeared to favour RIM's Blackberry devices.

The report notes that the increased uptake of smartphones has led to a dramatic rise in mobile internet use.

Facebook was the most visited website on handheld devices, with 43 million hours spent on it in December 2010.

Ofcom's annual Communications Market Report combines the regulator's own research with work carried out by other industry analysts.

The 341-page document provides a comprehensive snapshot of the UK's TV, radio, internet and telecommunications consumption.

On mobiles, it said that 58% of adult males owned a smartphone compared to 42% of females. Among teenagers the trend was reversed with 52% of girls using smartphones against 48% of boys.

Although Apple's iPhone was a favourite device for 32% of adults, among teens its popularity was dwarfed by the Blackberry, which 37% of young people identified as their preferred brand.
Trending online

Ofcom's analysis of the country's online habits is based on a survey of 2,481 adults who have access to a broadband connection.

Among those who took part, the most popular use of the internet was sending and receiving email (89%).

More people turned to their computer to do online banking (61%) than used it to watch television (45%).

And younger people were the least likely to be worried about their privacy while going online. Among 16 to 24-year-olds, 6% said they had concerns.

The figure rose among older users with 13% of 55 to 64-year-olds expressing reservations.

The report also examines the type of websites or online services that people are spending their time on, based on research carried out by UKOM/Neilsen.

The biggest growth area, between April 2010 and April 2011, was games, which increased by 23%.

News websites took a 33% dive on the previous year, as did adult sites whose use fell by 13%.

Away from the internet, there were also noteworthy changes around the use of broadcasting technology.

Time-shifted TV viewing, using digital video recorders, made up 14% of all viewing time in 2010, 1% lower than the previous year.

Sales of 3D capable televisions appeared to be relatively sluggish, with 125,000 sets sold in 2010, compared to 1 million internet-enabled TVs.

Radio fared well, according to Ofcom, as total listener hours hit 1.04bn per week, up 2.1% on 2009.

By the beginning of 2011, a quarter of radio listening was done on a digital platform, said the regulator.


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