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Cell phone problem solvers

New and old cell phones, particularly smart-phones that have access to the internet, are now not so much as communication devices as full-blown problem solvers, according to the new report from the Internet & American Life project of the Pew Research Center.

The most recent survey from Pew about our online life says that 70 percent of cell phone owners and as much as 86 percent of smart-phone owners say that they have made use of the devices in order to arrange meetings with associates and friends, settle an argument, solve a problem, and find traffic or transport information.  The study, which was conducted by phone between 15 March and 3 April this year, saw 2254 people over the age of 18 across the nation asked about their use of the devices.

Of the respondents, 41 percent said they had used cell phones to arrange get-togethers or meetings, with 35 percent having used them to solve an unexpected problem either for themselves or for someone else.  Twenty-seven percent had used them to settle a dispute, 20 percent having used them to find out public transit or traffic information, 23 percent have looked up a sports score using the devices and 19 percent have used them to get help in an emergency.

“Smart-phones are changing basic patterns of human communication because they allow people to get real-time information to help them solve problems,” says the coauthor of the report, Susannah Fox.