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Mobile apps reveal the real you

The saying goes, ‚you can tell a person by the contents of their handbag’. However, based on recent research commissioned by Nokia, a person’s personality can be determined by the types of applications they download and how and when they use them.

The adage ‚you can tell a person by the contents of their handbag‚ may have been true once, but now all you really need to understand someone is to know how they use their smartphone. According to Professor Trevor Pinch of Cornell University, the secret to determining someone’s personality lies beneath the apps they’ve installed on their phone.

Based on recent research commissioned by Nokia, society’s relationship with their cell phones has changed significantly. We are now a country of ‚app dependants‚ with 65 per cent of smartphone users in South Africa relying on apps to significantly benefit their lives while at home (50 per cent), travelling (13 percent), or at work (20 percent). These figures suggest that apps are being used as important life tools – and as usage levels rise, so does our cell phones ability to learn more about us and become even more useful.

‚With so many apps available, people can pick the ones most relevant to them, ‚Pinch said. ‚The intimacy we share with our phones stamps our personality onto them. They know our tastes, our needs and even our secrets. If you ever want to really know someone, take a look at their apps ‚ you may be in for a surprise!‚

What’s your Appitypes?

Nokia worked alongside Cornell University’s leading sociologist and professor of science and technology studies, Trevor Pinch, to analyse the study of more than 5,200 smartphone users in 10 countries, including South Africa. Analysis of data including app genre, variety and usage revealed personality categories linked to smartphone behaviour that Pinch summarised into six archetypes called ‚appitypes.‚

Interestingly, appitypes not only revealed personal traits, but some of our national characteristics too. South Africans are the biggest ‚connectors‚ with 45 percent regularly using social networking apps, while the Germans and Indians were revealed as the hardworking and productive ‚appcentrics.‚ The Italians were the undisputed ‚live wires,‚ with the Brazilians the world’s biggest ‚creators‚ with their flair for music and style.

Eighty percent of South African’s sampled have up to 30 apps on their devices, with men more likely than women to download an app (87 per cent vs.79 per cent). The most downloaded and used apps are for social networking followed by music and games which highlights that the majority are used while at home rather than at work.

The research conducted highlighted different South African app trends based on regions. While those in East London and Bloemfontein are keen ‚socialisers‚ with the most downloads for social networking apps (55 per cent), Durbanites would rather download games (38 per cent). Those in Port Elizabeth look for assistance with directions with high downloads of travel/navigation apps.

Gauteng residents (69 per cent of them) downloaded apps if they felt they would benefit their lives, while those in Cape Town preferred the free apps (50 per cent).

‚Apps are a great way to personalise your mobile. Like our old record or CD collections, apps reveal who we are ‚ whether we look at the type of apps people have, how they organise them, or which ones they most use. It certainly makes for interesting reading,‚ said George Linardos, vice president of media, Nokia.

To determine your personal appitype, log on to

To visit the Ovi Store and start downloading the apps that suit your life, visit

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