Smartphones are bigger than feature phones, they're more complicated to use, and they're typically far more expensive, both in terms of upfront costs for the hardware and over the long haul when you factor in the required data charge every month for two years (assuming you're locked in a two-year service agreement). Nevertheless, smartphones now outnumber feature phones among U.S. adults, according to data by Pew Internet.
Almost half (46 percent) of American adults own a smartphone as of February 2012, up 11 percentage points over the 35 percent who owned a smartphone in May 2011. During the same time period, feature phones dropped from 46 percent (May, 2011) to 41 percent (February, 2012) and now take a backseat to smartphones. And it's not just one particular group inflating the numbers.
"Nearly every major demographic group—men and women, younger and middle-aged adults, urban and rural residents, the wealthy and the less well-off—experienced a notable uptick in smartphone penetration over the last year, and overall adoption levels are at 60 percent or more within several cohorts, such as college graduates, 18-35 year olds and those with an annual household income of $75,000 or more," Pew Internet said.
Perhaps not surprisingly, smartphone penetration didn't make any significant strides among seniors. Of those that are at least 65 years old, only 13 percent own a smartphone, far below the national average of 46 percent, and up just a smidgen from 11 percent in 2011.
Plenty more details can be found in the full report here.