PhotoThere may come a day when every child born in the U.S. is issued a smartphone as he or she leaves the hospital. Otherwise, how are they going to be able to cope?

Deloitte garnered some attention for its newly released 2015 Global Mobile Consumer Survey with this factoid: if you added up all the times all U.S. consumers look at their smartphones in a single day, you'd get a number around 8 billion.

Increasingly, we're looking at these devices when we are also engaged in other activity – like driving, working, talking to a friend, shopping, or watching television.

In its analysis of the data, Deloitte researchers conclude that consumers are more distracted than ever before. In fact, this year's survey results show unprecedented levels of multitasking while interacting with mobile devices.


The most common use of a smartphone is still sending and receiving text messages. Upon waking, 17% of smartphone owners say they check their phones before doing anything else.

Before turning in for the night, 13% of smartphone users say they look at their phone one last time.

According to Deloitte, consumers have no intention of ever switching off their smartphones.

Then again, they might if something else came along.

Replacing smartphones with AI

In its Hot Consumer Trends of 2016, Ericsson Consumerlab holds out the prospect that artificial intelligence (AI) might completely replace smartphones within the next five years.

The report notes that the screen age began in the 1950s, with television. Then computer screens were added to the mix. Now smartphones are a constant fixture.

But screens are an old technology. Consumers constantly complain about the small screens on their devices and the speed at which the batteries run down.

“The contradictory demands for power-draining larger screens and a longer battery life however, highlight a need for better solutions, such as the use of intelligent assistants to reduce the need to always touch a screen,” the authors write. “In fact, 85% of smartphone users think wearable electronic assistants will be commonplace within 5 years.”

Bring it on

In fact, smartphone users appear to be all in for a switch to AI capabilities. Half of those surveyed would like to be able to talk to their household appliances as though they were people.

They would also like to see AI take over many common activities, such as searching the net, getting travel directions, and as personal assistants.

What isn't exactly clear is what such a device or interface would look like. But you can be sure that somewhere, engineers are working on it.

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