Smartphones have changed the way that people consume data over the past several years. It used to be that if you were waiting for an email, you had to use a computer to check for its arrival. If you wanted to update a personal blog or check out what was going on with your friends on Facebook, it required logging in on the computer. Need the latest sports scores or stock quotes? You guessed it, computer. The world has moved on from a computer being a requirement. Of course, the smartphone hasn't replaced your laptop entirely, but so much of what used to require a computer can now be done completely on a device that fits in your pocket. It's no surprise that a recent Nielsen report showed that the average smartphone user is now consuming 89% more data per month than they were just a year ago.
As a result of this trend, many leading carriers are moving to usage-based data plans for smartphones. What does this mean for you? If you were lucky enough to be grandfathered into an unlimited data plan, it may not mean much (yet). However, if you aren't one of those fortunate ones, or if you switch providers in the future, you may need to pay very close attention to how much data you are consuming on your device to avoid extra charges at the end of the month.
You may be thinking to yourself "I don't need to worry about that. I only use my phone for texting grandma and calling the kids at college." If so, then great! You probably don't have much to worry about. However, most of us are a different story, constantly using our phones for Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, visiting our favorite blogs (*cough*CrackBerry.com*cough*), sending and receiving emails - the list goes on. No matter what platform you choose, smartphone users are consuming more and more data, and there is no sign of that trend stopping.