In a market that has recently seen new much-hyped smartphone releases from Palm (Palm Pre), Apple (iPhone 3G S) and Nokia (Nokia N97), research released today by mobile device management company Mformation highlights that the mobile phone is becoming increasingly central to consumer lifestyles.
Sixty-five percent of survey respondents store not just phone numbers but address and other contact information on their mobile handsets. 83 percent have digital photos, 51 percent have videos, 48 percent have calendar information and 40 percent have music downloads.
One consequence of using the phone as a method for creating and storing data and information is that people must now worry about this material if the phone is lost or stolen -- 82 percent of people fear that if their phones were lost or stolen, someone would use the information stored on them for fraudulent means. Ninety percent of those questioned are worried about the loss of their personal data if a mobile device were to go missing, with 72 percent admitting that the personal information stored on their devices would be difficult to replace. In addition,
"Mobile phones are becoming more and more essential to user lifestyles," commented Matt Bancroft, Vice President, Mformation.
"People can access the Internet and store significant amounts of valuable personal information and other content on their mobile devices. With new advances in mobile technology arriving every day, this trend will only increase the role of the mobile device in peoples' lives by providing us with increasing freedom to store, manage, send, and receive information.
"Mobile operators need to make sure that users are confident that their devices are secure, the data on those devices is protected, and device content can be backed up and recovered if a phone is lost or stolen. Such a high level of dependency on mobile phones today means that operators need capabilities to help minimize risk and maximize trust," continued Bancroft.
Because mobile phones are being used for such a wide range of activities, when a device is lost, it can prove to be devastating for the user. Ninety-one percent of people questioned in the UK and US said they would be "devastated" if they lost their mobile phones.Three-quarters of the people interviewed said that it would take a day or more to get a new phone fully up and running with all their personal data after a loss or theft. In fact, 61 percent of people said that this should take two hours or less.
"Operators need to step up to the mark to make sure that their customers are getting the service they expect in terms of security, data recovery and phone setup," said Bancroft.
"As people continue to increase their reliance on mobile phones for everyday actions, operators have to make sure that they are ready to support this increased commitment by the user. More extensive use of the device is great, but the mobile operators need to underpin this activity by offering capabilities to protect and manage users' data if things go wrong."
The research was undertaken by independent research house Coleman Parkes, which asked 4000 people in the U.K. and U.S. about problems related to mobile usage.
This story, "Bigger Loss: Cell Phone or Wallet?" was originally published by PC Advisor (UK).