Britons love smartphones and selfies, new study shows

Ofcom says smartphones are now more popular than laptops in the UK - and we take 1.2bn selfies a year

iPhone 6

New figures from Ofcom show the UK is involved in a love affair with smartphones and selfies. The communications regulator says Britons now prefer smartphones to laptops as a main device to get online - and 1.2 billion selfies were taken in the UK last year.

The figures suggest that 33 per cent of us now rely on our smartphones to access the internet, compared to the 30 per cent who prefer a laptop. Another 19 per cent prefer to use a tablet, while just 14 per cent opt for a desktop computer to get connected.

The data is for 2014. The year before that the laptop was still first choice for most people - and the triumph of the smartphone has been dubbed a "landmark moment" by the regulator, the BBC reports. The average UK adult spends two hours a day online via a phone.

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Perhaps surprisingly, most tablets are not used as mobile devices: instead they tend to function as a piece of household equipment, left in the home and shared by the family.

Smartphones are also in the ascendancy over cameras: 60 per cent of Britons say they use a camera-phone rather than a stand-alone digital camera for their photography. Among younger people the figure is even higher: 89 per cent of 16- to 24-year-olds rely on their phones to take pictures.

And the pictures they take are increasingly of themselves, says Ofcom. Some 31 per cent of adults said they had taken a selfie in the past year and one in ten admitted to doing so within the past week.

Not all of us have fully embraced new technology - only 29 per cent of adults over 35 said they backed up the photos on their phones. A large 70 per cent of the same group say they still display old-fashioned print photographs at home.

Smartwatches had yet to make much impact in the UK in 2014, Ofcom's annual Communications Market Report found. Less than five per cent of UK adults own one - but Ofcom expects that percentage to rise when 2015's figures are ready.

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