Why I'm using my smartphone less and less every day

Summary:When smartphones first appeared I happily did everything with mine. Surfing the web on the phone was a heady experience, along with lots of other activities. Then something changed, at least for me.

Phone vs Tablet
Galaxy Note 2 and iPad mini -- Image credit: James Kendrick/ZDNet

When smartphones first appeared on the scene if you were like me your phone almost never left your hand. The ability to surf the web on the little phone was an amazing experience. Online activities previously relegated to a big computer or a laptop could suddenly be done on the little phone.

In the early days I used my smartphone for all sorts of things. First there was handling email, then reading ebooks. Using the phone for Facebook and Twitter followed soon after. Then there was watching hours of video on YouTube. The phone was always at hand and kept the laptop in the gear bag.

In the last few years my smartphone usage has dropped significantly. Where it was always in use before, now it sits idly on the table waiting, calling out to be picked up.

See also: Galaxy Note 8.0: Still the best small tablet | Smartphones: Size matters  | How to buy a smartphone: A guide for newbies

When I think of how I use the smartphone today it is very limited. Maybe a call or two each day will get the phone out of my pocket. Email is the task I do most often on my phone, followed by text messaging. On a given day that's pretty much the only things I will pull out the phone to do.

What's behind my using my smartphone less than in the past? The small tablet is the culprit. It started with the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the first 7-inch Android tablet. The Tab was small enough to carry almost everywhere so it was usually close at hand. The Tab was soon followed by the Nexus 7, then the iPad mini, and the Galaxy Note 8.0.

In the last few years my smartphone usage has dropped significantly. Where it was always in sight before, now it sits idly on the table waiting, calling out to be picked up.

Now I find it satisfying to reach for the tablet instead of the smartphone as the larger screen, even though only slightly larger than that of the phone, is much better for surfing the web. Tablet browsers give a full browsing experience and there's no fiddling with a small smartphone screen to get a good look at the displayed web page.

While I was happy reading ebooks on my phone for years, once I did it with the tablet that was no longer the case. Seeing a full page at once on the small tablet is much more enjoyable than the tiny page that appears on the little phone screen. I now do all my reading on the tablet, whether at home or out and about.

That's the case with just about everything these days. I reach for the tablet dozens of times during the day for all but those few activities described I still do on the phone. The tablet is comfortable to use while the bigger display is better for seeing the right amount of information at a time. Watching video on the tablet is especially nice. Text entry is much easier with a bigger onscreen keyboard than the dinky one on the phone.

With such restricted smartphone use, I can probably get by with a simpler phone than the Galaxy Note 2 I own. Practically any cheap smartphone would handle my limited needs without issue. I no longer need (nor desire, frankly) the next whizbang phone to come along. Just pass the tablet, please.

I may be the exception but I'll bet many tablet owners are now using them more than the smartphone that stays in the pocket. How about you? Leave a comment below about your smartphone usage. Do you use it more or less than in the past and why?

Topics: Mobility, Smartphones, Tablets

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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