How Do You Use Your Mobile Phone Address Book?

This post originally appeared at State of Telecom in Pakistan blog.

Address books and keeping them current and accessible has been a problem for a long time. With the electronic revolution the paper address books have gradually went out of fashion, replaced by stand-alone PDAs, spreadsheets, online contact management services  and yes, mobile phone lists. But do people usually use their phone lists as THE primary address book? What are the various ways by which people keep the lists current and share that data with other applications and people?

The question is answered in part by a recent report. In a recent post, Ajit Jaokar of Open Gardens blog recommended a study: Mobile Life 2006 which looks at the social impacts of mobile phones in Europe. There are some interesting behavior studies there – and I believe that we need similar work in our part of the world. Going back to the topic of this post, on page 10, there is some interesting data:  

“Most people only regularly contact 10 people or less on their phone list”.
Allied to the texting revolution is another: the phone list revolution, namely the ability to store many phone numbers in a mobile phone. This has effectively become the modern address book. Overall, 36% of mobile phone users store at least 50 numbers on their phones; but, again, that overall figure disguises the significance of the impact of mobile phone technology on the young. 64% of under 25 have more than 50 numbers stored on their phones – compared with just 12% of the over-60s. 7% of men aged 18-24 store more than 200 numbers on their phones – compared to just 1% of women.

However, many of these numbers are used very infrequently. Just 25% of the under 25 contact more than 10 of the people on their phone list by voice or text regularly, that is, at least once a week – a figure that falls to a mere 5% among the over 60s.

Like the more traditional, paper address book of previous generations, the mobile phone still contains all those important numbers that people need to use in important situations. Yet the frequency of usage of a small number of phone list contacts shows that people’s social and family networks remain tight knit.

Many people import and export their phone data by connecting their phone to a PC using a special cable. Those with data services enabled can easily move information around. In addition there are services which can backup your phone contact lists online - so that in case you lose your phone, you have a way to get to your contact list. Do you think that the level of simplicity which the consumers seek is available now? 

Facebook comments:

2 Comments

  • I personally think that address book sync should be simpler. Its way too much hassle to get these data cables at times and then configuration of specific software + manually doing the sync..

    there is a lot of room for improvements. 😉

  • Thanks for the comment Obaid. Another reader at my blog mentioned bluetooth as the best way to sync.

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