More Aggies are becoming addicted to “crack”berries and Mac’s cachet is growing among students, according to a yearly tech survey taken by Computer Lab Management (CLM).
In March, CLM sent out two surveys, one focusing on computer printing labs on campus and computer ownership, and the other on the prevalence of smartphones.
Forty-three percent of students own smartphones – cell phones that have advanced features like e-mail and internet – the most popular of which are iPhones and BlackBerries.
“Why use a normal phone when you can use a smartphone to check the weather, sports and your e-mail? They make life more manageable,” said Richard Park, writer for Youngmoney.com, a quarterly magazine for college students and young entrepreneurs.
Park also noted that the BlackBerry Curve is currently the most popular smartphone on the market, possibly because the Curve works with all four major U.S. phone carriers, while the iPhone is only offered by AT&T.
Smartphones tend to be popular among college students for the ease of texting, and the ability to reach social networking sites such as facebook.com when users are away from their computers.
“I text more now because it’s faster and easier. I like that I can take notes while talking, and go on the Internet while on the phone,” said Kirsten Wehrenberg-Klee, a recent UC Davis graduate, and iPhone owner. “I have no excuse not to know anything now.“
According to a survey published by UCD Information and Educational Technology, nearly 100 percent of all students own computers, with laptops comprising 87 percent of that count, and desktop ownership down to 10 percent.
Though nearly every student on campus owns their own computer, on-campus computer labs remain frequently used. Students use the labs for class-related purpose more than personal, and printing is the most important reason for the labs‘ popularity, according to the Information and Educational Technology report.
Macs have tripled in popularity among Aggies, increasing from seven percent ownership in winter 2006 to 23.4 percent ownership in winter 2009.
“Young people say they like them because there are no viruses, but they are really novelty items,” Park said. “For the same price as a Mac you could buy a PC that is twice as fast.“
The popularity of Macs on campus follows a nationwide trend of college students purchasing Mac computers. A survey published by Student Monitor cited that among students planning to buy a laptop in 2008, 43 percent planned on buying a Mac.
“Macs are unique in their design and their advertising is contemporary,” said Park about why Macs are doing so well among college students. “Their use of new songs makes their advertising unique.“
The use of Window’s Vista on campus has also climbed from 19.9 percent in winter 2008 to 34.5 percent in winter 2009.
A similar study on Aggie computer trends conducted by Student Affairs Research and Information on MyUCDavis in fall quarter 2008 found that 77 percent of laptop owners reported using their laptops on campus. The CLM survey predicts that as smartphones become more popular, they will replace laptops in the classroom.
Gabrielle Grow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.