Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

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

Version 1 : Received: 1 June 2018 / Approved: 4 June 2018 / Online: 4 June 2018 (09:59:45 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

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. 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.

Journal reference: Multimodal Technologies Interact. 2018, 2, 37
DOI: 10.3390/mti2030037

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 possibility deal with it analytically.

Subject Areas

mobile apps; polymedia; mobile phone; technology adoption; human-to-machine communication; media classification

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