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Smartphone Focus: Twitter - what do you use your mobile phone for?

TwitterJust a few years ago, asking someone what they use their mobile phone for was akin to asking a footballer who'd just missed a crucial penalty how he felt. "It's statin' the bleedin' obvious, innit?" The answer: making calls.

No longer, as a recent Twitter chat facilitated by PC Advisor's own SmartphoneFocus illustrates. Asked what they used their phones for other than making calls, readers' answers were consistently broad.

Typical was MarshallSteve, who said he uses his handset for "Email, Internet - searching addresses, Maps, Tube/Train times, Apps - Twitter, Linkedin".

Indeed, based on the conversation we've had on Twitter over the past couple of days, smartphone users can be roughly split into two groups. On the one had there are those such as yoonmunkit who use their mobile phone for: "internet, facebook, twitter", and jon1975 who adds SMS to that list.

If you consider the mobile web as separate entity to the internet proper (and to this point you absolutely should), these are functions that are almost native to the mobile world. Certainly social networking has its roots in the mobile space. Most social networks are at least initially propagated by young adults and teens: exactly the sort of people who don't have a full-spec computer to call their own.

The second group are more advanced in their mobile use. Like MarshallSteve, mtiffen, reale_michele and others, they utilise their phones for local listings and satellite navigation, games, photography and a more full-featured web-browsing experience. Indeed, the functionality of today's full-featured smartphone bears comparison with that of a PC from a decade ago. Maybe not quite as powerful, but a lot smaller and better looking (and with much better connectivity - minus the floppy drive).

Does the latter group speak to the future of not just smartphone, but computer use? Fully functional, connected mobile computing, with mobile apps that can do just about everything desktop software can? Certainly Apple thinks so, making its next big launch the Apple iPad. A so-called 'third device' that meshes the functionality of an advanced smartphone with the form factor of a petit PC.

All of which ought to be good news for business. Technology is becoming sufficiently portable to allow workers to carry a single, portable device - if not now, then in the near future.

But the mobile revolution has the potential to be a security headache.

Pop a quick 'smartphone security' search into Twitter, and you'll see that this is burgeoning market. Portable data is nickable data, and the melange of different OSes and specifications available to yer average punter is enough keep even the most sanguine network admin from sleep.

No matter. The market will find a way, and in the meantime the benefits of mobile computing far outweigh the negatives.

What do we use our mobile phones for? According to Twitter: pretty much everything.

Join in the conversation at Twitter.com/smartphonefocus

Visit: PCAdvisor.co.uk/smartphone-focus

Follow Matt Egan at Twitter.com/MattJEgan

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