A higher percentage of US adults owns a mobile phone than owns a computer, according to new data from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

Cell Phones, Computers Top Gadgets
Pew data indicates that 85% of Americans now own a cell phone. Cell phone ownership rates among young adults have reached 96% of 18-to-29 year olds. Meanwhile, three-quarters (76%) of Americans own either a desktop or laptop computer. Since 2006, laptop ownership has grown dramatically (from 30% to 52%) while desktop ownership has declined slightly.

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Less than Half Own MP3 Players, Video Games
Ownership rates of other popular gadgets among US adults do not reach 50%. Slightly less than half of American adults (47%) own an MP3 player such as an iPod. This represents a nearly five-fold increase from the 11% who owned this type of device in early 2005.

Console gaming devices like the Xbox and PlayStation are nearly as common as mp3 players, as 42% of Americans own a home gaming device. Parents (64%) are nearly twice as likely as non-parents (33%) to own a game console.

Tablets, E-readers Grow with Early Adopters
Compared with the other devices on this list, e-book readers (such as the Kindle) and tablet computers (such as the iPad) are relatively new arrivals to the consumer technology scene and are owned by a relatively modest number of Americans.

However, these devices are proving popular with traditional early adopter groups such as the affluent and highly educated. Ownership rates for tablets and e-book readers among college graduates and those earning $75,000 or more per year are roughly double the national averages of 5% and 4%, respectively.

Multiple Ownership Common
Eight in 10 American adults (78%) own two or more of these devices, and the median adult owns three of the seven gadgets we asked about in our survey. Among other factors, device ownership is highly correlated with age.

For example, the typical adult younger than age 45 owns four devices, while the typical adult between the ages of 55 and 64 owns two and the typical senior (age 65 or older) owns just one. Those with high levels of income and education are also more likely to own a relatively large number of devices compared with those with lower income and education levels.

iPad Owners Valuable to Advertisers
iPad owners may currently represent a small segment of the adult US population, but they demonstrate a number of demographic trends that make them valuable to advertisers, according to research from The Nielsen Company. iPad owners skew younger and more male than owners of many other portable computing devices. Sixty-five percent of them are male and 63% of them are younger than the age of 35.

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