Canadian mobile device users are more attached to their smartphones and tablets than ever, expecting them to always be within arm’s reach, to connect them to the Internet, and to someday even act as their surrogate butlers. That’s leading researchers to brand these people as part of “Generation D” for being device-centric, according to a new study commissioned by Rogers Communications.

In a study of about 1,000 individuals across Canada, researchers from Harris Decima found about 52 per cent of respondents own a smartphone, while 33 per cent own a tablet. About 22 per cent said they owned both. Among smartphone owners, about 42 per cent of respondents said they had their phones within reach for anywhere between 90 per cent and 100 per cent of their day, with the majority of respondents checking their phones while spending time with friends, watching TV, or at work.

Having mobile devices around almost 24/7 has also given rise to a heavier presence on social media, researchers found. About 25 per cent of respondents said they had sent tweets or written Facebook posts to people in the same room as them. Plus, Canadians seem to be embracing social apps, with 75 per cent saying they use Facebook on their mobile device, and 46 per cent saying they’re on Snapchat, which has taken off among Generation Y users.

There also seems to be a huge appetite for wireless access. About 59 per cent of respondents said they’d be willing to give up one item on a list of choices – alcohol, sports, coffee, their pet, sex, their car, or their best friend – in exchange for access to the Internet. However, 41 per cent of respondents said they wouldn’t be willing to swap any of those things to get WiFi access.

Still, it’s not that surprising that Canadians might be willing to do without a few things to get online, said Raj Doshi, senior vice-president of products at Rogers Communications.

“Over the next few years, technology will continue to shift into high gear, offering consumers completely personalized connected experiences anytime, anywhere.”

“Enhanced networks are leading to a rise in internet usage in Canada, creating ‘Generation D’ – a group that lives and breathes life through mobile devices and that shares an optimistic view of what’s next,” Doshi said in a statement.

“Over the next few years, technology will continue to shift into high gear, offering consumers completely personalized connected experiences anytime, anywhere.”

Beyond just a snapshot of the present, researchers found a number of mobile device users eventually expect their devices to do just about everything – beyond supplying them with information or connecting them to others, users predict their devices will free them from everyday drudgery.

For example, about 84 per cent said they think their cars will be able to spot accidents on the road, as well as provide weather alerts. Another 39 per cent of respondents said they expect mobile apps will advance to the point where they can draw baths, cut the lawn, vacuum, and do the laundry.

Fifty-two per cent said they think apps will be able to connect them to their doctors, while 31 per cent said they believe their apps will be able to predict when life-threatening health problems are about to happen.

And in terms of shopping, in the next five years, 61 per cent of Canadians said they expect to be able to leave their wallets at home and pay with mobile devices, with virtual versions of credit and debit cards. Sixty-four per cent said they expect to eventually bring a new meaning to “As Seen on TV,” as they’ll be able to buy exactly what they’ve seen in their favourite shows, right from live programming.

To read the whole report, check out the SlideShare presentation here.

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