The emergence of devices such as the Apple iPhone in January 2007 gave users a computer in their pocket. Now apart from making phone calls and sending text messages, smartphone users have immediate access to the Internet, social media and network systems, e-mail accounts, video clips, music files and a vast array of phone-based software apps.

"Smartphones are creating a huge ripple in the pond of human behaviour and it is important that, as smartphones develop, we continue to study the way they affect behaviour, emotions and emotional attachments," said Tom Page from Loughborough University Design School.

People grow emotionally attached to their smartphone, or at least the connectivity and the technology that the device facilitates, pointed out Tom Page and professor GAsli Thorsteinsson from the University of Iceland.

The understanding how users become reliant on their smartphone for particular tasks, how they invest time and money in these gadgets and the relationship they have with their devices is increasingly key to the manufacturers.

It is the ease with which smartphones can be used, the ability to pour out one's life into the apps and networks to which it connects that brings emotional baggage to ownership.

For teenagers, journalists, business users and other professionals, it is even considered something of a social faux pas, a sign of being inept not to have a constant connection with the outside world via one's smart phone regardless of the circumstances one finds oneself at any given time.

 

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