It appears apps have officially become part of the global human culture, as Nokia has tasked a sociologist with understanding the results of a recent study it conducted that aims to understand how mobile users view and use applications on their devices.
A short survey at Nokia’s website asks eight questions about how a person uses apps and what kinds of apps they have on their phone. At the end of the survey, the program generates what Nokia calls an “Appitype,” one of six different labels – The Appthusiast, The Livewire, The Creator, The Connector (social), The Appcentric (smartphone is main comuting device), Apprentice (not yet involved in apps but is learning) – that sum up the person’s behavior around apps.
It’s worth noting that when you’re through with the survey, Nokia takes the opportunity to suggest the Nokia device that fits your Appitype.
The study logged 5,000 total repondents (500 in each of 10 different countries) across all platforms (e.g. Symbian, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, etc). Nokia then employed the services of Cornell University sociologist Trevor Pinch to look at the data and draw his own conclusions.
The survey produced some interesting results. For instance, in the United States, those in the MIdwest were “keen socializers,” according to the report. Those in the Midwest used social networking apps the most (49 percent) with 15 percent saying that they could not live without them. In the Western region of the United States, 18 percent used music apps, more than in any other region.
“There has been very little study on how people are actually using their smarpthone, so when Nokia approached me about doing a global study, I leaped at the chance,” Pinch says.
Pinch says there were no drastic differences between users in different countries, but there were nuances that surprised. For instance, Germans were apparently quite into alarm clock and flashlight apps, while Brits were overall more skeptical about apps in general.
As a sociologist, Pinch sees smarpthones as a tool that dramatically supplements a person’s inherent skills and capabilities. “The most dramatic thing it supplements, just in my own personal opinion, is navigation… The navigation apps on a smartphone are just phenomenal,” Pinch says.
But is there such a thing as too many apps? Might we humans be too reliant upon our technology?
“It can be kind of addictive,” Pinch admits, “you have to get used to how to deal with this technology, because it’s so useful that people can actually overuse it.”
While Pinch will return to other work, he says that Nokia will continue to generate metrics from the online survey. Those wishing to find their Appitype can go to here to participate.