This post originally appeared at State of Telecom in Pakistan blog.
Address books and keepingÂ them current and accessibleÂ has been aÂ problem for a long time.Â With the electronicÂ revolution the paper addressÂ booksÂ have gradually wentÂ out of fashion, replaced byÂ stand-alone PDAs, spreadsheets, onlineÂ contact management servicesÂ Â and yes, mobile phone lists. But do people usually use their phone lists asÂ 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 JaokarÂ of Open Gardens blog recommended a study: Mobile Life 2006Â which looks at the social impacts of mobile phonesÂ 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 isÂ someÂ interesting data:Â Â
â€œMost people only regularly contact 10 people or less on their phone listâ€.
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 â€“ compared with just 12% of the over-60s. 7% of men aged 18-24 store more than 200 numbers on their phones â€“ 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 â€“ 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 peopleâ€™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.Â Those with data services enabled can easilyÂ move information around.Â In addition there are services which can backup your phone contact lists online -Â so thatÂ in case you lose your phone, you have a way to get to your contact list.Â Do you think that the level of simplicity which the consumers seek isÂ available now?Â