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womanThough it might seem like everyone in the world is attached to the mobile phone, a new study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project finds that six in ten people could leave home without it.

But the 39 percent who are "motivated by mobility," as the report states, break down into very different usage patterns. As marketers find their way in mobile apps and display ads, its worth noting these segments.

Digital Collaborators: 8 percent of adults use information gadgets to collaborate and share their creativity. Members of this group can almost always get access to the internet, whether that is with an "always on" broadband connection or with an "always present" mobile device. These are the user-generated content group members.

Ambivalent Networkers:
7 percent of adults heavily use mobile devices to connect with others and entertain themselves, but they don't always like it when the cell phone rings. They are the most frequent cell phone texters of any group. While some message content might be about current affairs, a portion is undoubtedly about culture, as Ambivalent Networkers will watch videos or listen to music using online access tools, mobile or otherwise.

Media Movers: 7 percent of adults use online access to seek out information nuggets, and these nuggets make their way through these users' social networks via desktop and mobile access. The typical Media Mover, a mid-30s male, may have a knapsack full of devices such as a video or digital camera ready at an instant to record something and, before long, send it along to a friend or post it online. The cell phone might be the hook that draws this group closer to digital tools and activities.

Roving Nodes: 9 percent of adults use their mobile devices to connect with others and share information with them. Picture a Roving Node as a woman in her late 30s who is rarely without her smart phone, often using it to chat, but also checking email or fielding a text message. When she gets home or back to the office, she is frequently online, keeping up with email or surfing the net to get news or shop.

Mobile Newbies: 8% of adults lack robust access to the internet, but they like their cell phones. A typical Mobile Newbie, who is about 50 years old, is a novice with modern gadgets but is wading into the waters thanks to a new cell phone.

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Published 26 March, 2009 by John Gaffney

John Gaffney is US Editor at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter

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