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Mobile device etiquette keeps going down the drain, survey finds

Matt Hamblen | Feb. 28, 2011
U.S. adults report increased use of smartphones for talking, texting while driving or in many public areas, including restrooms

"We're starting to live in a world of interruption technology -- isn't anybody questioning this?" said MWC panelist Hampus Jakobsson, director of strategic alliances at BlackBerry smartphone maker Research in Motion. He is the former head of TAT, an interface design company acquired by RIM last year.

In response to a question on how RIM might reduce interruptions, Jakobsson suggested BlackBerry devices perhaps shouldn't run games that demand close attention from users.

Panelist and AT&T CTO John Donovan added that mobile devices have become the "serial interrupters" of modern society. "We owe it to the industry to restore simplicity where interactions and productivity are balanced," he added.

Elsewhere, Microsoft picked up on the theme of bad phone behaviors in a series of TV ads for its Windows Phone 7 devices.

The commercials lament the way typical smartphones can prevent people from engaging directly with others, and suggesting that the interface on WP7-based phones will allow tasks to be completed swiftly and thus let users more quickly get back to communicating directly with families and co-workers.

An Intel spokeswoman said the is not looking to prescribe a right or wrong way to use mobile technology by releasing the results of the survey. "We want to understand how people use and want to use their technology. It's an important part of our future product planning process," said spokeswoman Jessica Hansen.

She said Intel isn't aware of an industry group devoted to mobile technology etiquette despite the comments made at MWC and the Microsoft ads.

Intel, however, did quote tips from etiquette expert Anna Post.

In general, Post suggests that mobile users "be present ... [and] give your full attention to those you are with ... in a meeting or on a date."

Post als suggests that users stop and consider whether it would be best to postpone a call or to move away from others when talking, texting or e-mailing from a mobile device. She also suggests talking with family, friends and co-workers about setting ground rules for mobile device use.

Finally, Post said she believes that some places, such as restrooms, are private and should remain free of mobile device use.



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