Younger generation shows surprising interest in old form factors

Which age group shows the strongest desire for a desktop-style phone form factor (albeit with the portability of a wireless connection)? Burnside Telecom, which happens to make such devices, recently commissioned a survey of 3000 adults in the UK to find out. Surprisingly, it was the youngest people surveyed – the 18 to 24 age bracket – who were most interested in this kind of device. About 24% of them chose ‘the portability of a mobile phone in desktop phone form’ as their top dream phone attribute. The enthusiasm for this design actually fell the older the interview candidate, with just 11% of over 65s making it their first choice.

It is another example of how users often behave contrary to our expectations.

Our own user observations also provide some evidence to back this up. While the mainstream press continues to report an obsession for texting among young customers, we are seeing an increasing number of under 21s choosing voice as their preferred method of communication. Indeed, many of them do so because texting has become almost ‘cliche’ in their social groups and the coolest kids are ‘discovering’ voice as an alternative. We are seeing a developing trend for longer conversations among younger customers, in some cases even leaving the phone line open for an hour or more at a time in the corner of a room to establish an ongoing audio link between friends. A desktop-style phone therefore becomes appealing, both for comfort while talking and because it has a certain ‘retro’ cachet.

Of course, this is all good news for Burnside, which has been making desktop phones which use a GSM SIM card for many years.


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