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Multimodal Technologies Interact. 2018, 2(3), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/mti2030037

What Characterizes the Polymodal Media of the Mobile Phone? The Multiple Media within the World’s Most Popular Medium

1
Department of Communication, University of California, Kerr Hall 369, Davis, CA 95616, USA
2
Graduate School of Management, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 June 2018 / Revised: 21 June 2018 / Accepted: 21 June 2018 / Published: 26 June 2018
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Abstract

While the mobile phone is the world’s most popular media device, it is actually not one single medium, but is effectively used as a different medium by different user groups. The article characterizes polymodal differences in mobile apps usage among different user groups, including gender, education, occupation, screen size, and price. We monitored the complete app usage of 10,725 smartphone users for one month each (56 million sessions, recording almost 1 million hours). Our key contribution consists in developing and analyzing a theoretical framework to classify the over 16,000 apps used into five categories. Exploring nine research questions we provide a broad characterization by asking who, with which characteristics, uses which kinds of apps in what extensity and intensity? For example, it is not the young and high occupational grades that use the mobile phone as a human-to-machine computer (including gaming and artificial intelligence tools). Large screen size is related to extensive long sessions, while a small screen size is related to intensive frequent usage. The results go beyond providing ample empirical evidence for the inherently polymodal nature of the mobile phone, but also proposes a framework on how to deal with it analytically. View Full-Text
Keywords: mobile apps; polymedia; mobile phone; technology adoption; human-to-machine communication; media classification mobile apps; polymedia; mobile phone; technology adoption; human-to-machine communication; media classification
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Hilbert, M.; Aravindakshan, A. What Characterizes the Polymodal Media of the Mobile Phone? The Multiple Media within the World’s Most Popular Medium. Multimodal Technologies Interact. 2018, 2, 37.

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